New food stamp requirements to affect more than 600,000 people, but not Texans

Updated: Dec. 5, 2019 at 9:57 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - We are learning more today about the Trump Administration's new rule that will tighten the rules for people receiving food stamps.

The decision is estimated to drop hundreds of thousands of people from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

So, will this affect people on the South Plains? The short answer is no.

The new rule is based on a waiver policy that allows unemployed people in 36 states to continue receiving food stamps, even after the allotted time frame expires.

Those waivers are now going to be harder to get, but it does not affect Texas because the state never received them to begin with.

Here is how it works:

Many people are in and out of the labor market and rely on food stamps to get by while they are in-between jobs.

Currently, unemployed able-bodied adults without dependents can only receive food stamps for three months during a three-year period.

Before the new rule, counties with an unemployment rate as low as 2.5 percent were able to waive that stipulation, allowing people to stay on food stamps for longer during times when unemployment was higher, such as a recession or natural disaster.

But, now a six percent unemployment rate will be required for a county to receive a waiver.

The agriculture department estimates this will cut benefits for about 668,000 people and save about $5.5 billion over five years.

Congressman Jodey Arrington released a statement commending the decision, saying in part-

“These new work requirements aren't just about being good stewards of taxpayer dollars, they're about giving people a way out of generational poverty and into a brighter future of self-reliance and prosperity."

David Weaver, CEO of the South Plains Food Bank, explained that the new rule will not have any immediate impact on Texas.

“Because we do not have waivers that allow people to stay on the food stamp program longer than the alluded three months in a 36-month period,” Weaver said.

The new rule is set to take effect on April first.

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