The Trump administration announced Wednesday that it would finalize a rule change that could lead to 700,000 Americans losing food stamp benefits–but only if they refuse to comply with work requirements already in place on the federal level.
The new rule changes the rights states have to waive work requirements in times of “high unemployment,” which until now has been vaguely defined enough to allow many states to do so. Now, however, only states with unemployment of six percent or more can waive the requirements for working at least 20 hours a week for able-bodied recipients ages 18-49.
The national unemployment rate is 3.6%.
The USDA said that about 688,000 people would lose access to food stamps under the new rules, saving the government save an estimated $5.5 billion. These numbers assumes that people can’t or won’t comply with the new rules and find work.
2.1 million people who fit the criteria for work requirements are not currently working, the USDA said.
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