FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 3 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OUR $80 BILLION FOOD STAMP CRISIS

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Contact: Charles Siler
202-487-8652

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 3 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OUR $80 BILLION FOOD STAMP CRISIS
AND 1 EASY STEP TO WILL BRING IT UNDER CONTROL

Spending on food stamps is exploding—even though poverty rates are declining—reaching all sorts of record highs that threaten the stability of the program, thanks to the absence of meaningful work requirements, says a report released by the Foundation for Government Accountability today.

The food stamp, or the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), crisis is bigger than the billions of taxpayer dollars being wasted. Since the Obama administration allowed states to bypass the law and waive work requirements, people are staying on food stamps for longer and a majority of able-bodied, childless adults getting this welfare benefit don’t even work at all. The absence of work requirements is having a damaging effect on state economies, state budgets, and the psychological well-being of those trapped in a cycle of dependency.

Here are three crazy ways our food stamp program is in crisis:

1) Our food stamp program is hitting record high levels of enrollment and spending! Total enrollment reached a whopping 48 million in 2013, leading spending on food stamps to more than quadruple since 2000, reaching a record-high of nearly $80 billion.

2) Poverty is declining but food stamp enrollment continues climbing at an unsustainable rate. The number of people on food stamps increased 18% since 2010, even though the number of people in poverty dropped 2% in that same time.

3) Millions of Americans are turning to food stamps rather than jobs. Food stamp enrollment has increased by over 30 million people since 2000, while just over 4 million Americans were added to the workforce. For every job created, three people were added to the food stamp rolls.

“The best way out of poverty is through work, and governors have a great opportunity to free millions from the welfare trap and move them from poverty to the working class,” said Tarren Bragdon, CEO of the FGA.

“Fortunately there is a very easy option with broad, bi-partisan support governors can take to restore the working class, lift people from poverty, and save their states from this growing crisis.”

Many states can make a massive difference in their food stamp enrollment while helping to encourage work by taking this simple step: Restore work requirements for food stamps. Federal law requires able-bodied childless adults work or pursue work to draw food stamps for more than three months. Waiving work requirements erodes the incentive to work and it turns what should be a temporary safety net into a welfare trap.

“All our leaders need to do is to simply allow their current waivers to expire and their state food stamp programs will simply return to the federal law default of a work requirement,” said Bragdon.

Most states’ work requirement waivers are scheduled to expire at the end of September 2015. Fortunately, two states where the work requirements have been reinstated, Kansas and Maine, are having phenomenal results and are reviewed in FGA’s report, which can be read here.

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To schedule an interview, please contact Charles Siler with the Foundation for Government Accountability at (202) 487-8652 or charles@thefga.org.