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Statement from Linda Bopp, Executive Director, Hunger Solutions New York

December 5, 2019

Yesterday, the USDA issued a final rule that will weaken the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and take food off the table for nearly 700,000 people nationwide.  As many as 107,000 people in New York State will be subject to this new rule, many of whom struggle to find work in areas with few jobs.

Under current rules, Able-bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) who are between the ages of 18 and 49 must maintain 20 hours of approved work activity every week in order to be eligible to receive SNAP benefits.  If they are unable to find sufficient work or satisfy the documentation requirements to prove their work activities, SNAP benefits are limited to three months in a three-year period.  Waivers have historically been granted to areas with limited job opportunities, so that individuals are not subject to the time limit on SNAP benefits; in fact, more than 40 waivers are in place currently in areas of New York State.

The new rule issued by USDA arbitrarily and unnecessarily limits New York State’s ability to define and seek waivers for areas of high unemployment. By eliminating most waivers in the state, as many as 107,000 people will be newly subject to the time-limit, and will ultimately take food assistance away from those who are struggling to find work, while providing no support or enhancement for employment training or placement.

The rule is scheduled to go into effect in April 2020, unless it is stopped by the courts. If the rule is implemented, New York would see higher rates of hunger and poverty. It will cause serious harm to individuals, communities, and the nation while doing nothing to improve the health and employment of those impacted by the rule. In addition, it will harm the economy, grocery retailers, agricultural producers, and communities by reducing the amount of SNAP dollars available to spur local economic activity.”

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See our ABAWD SNAP Time-Limit Resource Page to learn more about the current rules.

 

For further information, contact:

Sherry Tomasky, Director of Communications and Public Affairs.

[email protected]

518-414-2570 (cell)