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FNS Announces New Rule to Reduce Work Requirement Waiver Abuse

Washington, D.C. – A new rule, announced today by the Federal Nutrition Service (FNS), will crack down on the waiver abuse that allows states to avoid proven work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents on food stamps.

Federal law allows states to waive work requirements for areas with high unemployment rates (10 percent and above), but for decades states have abused that flexibility in order to waive work requirements for as many able-bodied adults as possible. Despite record low unemployment rates nationwide, more than a third of the nation lives in an area where work requirements have been waived.

The new rule reins in state abuse of waivers and other loopholes that have allowed states to avoid requiring childless, able-bodied adults to work, train, or volunteer at least part-time to receive food stamps.

“Work is the most effective mechanism for helping people break out of dependency. Today’s rule is a good step in the right direction, but there is still work to be done to close loopholes to prevent states from further abusing the process,” said Kristina Rasmussen, vice president of federal affairs at FGA. “The Department should be commended for asking questions and requesting comments on several areas that can be tightened further to promote work, including grouping of jurisdictions. There is now an opportunity for the Administration to promote work for able-bodied adults even further.”


The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) is a non–profit, multi–state think tank that specializes in health care, welfare, and work reform. To learn more, visit

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