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food stamp loopholes

New Report Highlights Abuse of Work Requirement Waivers for Food Stamps

Naples, FL –  A new report, released today by the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), highlights how states have exempted able-bodied adults from food stamp work requirements through widespread waiver misuse and loopholes.

Federal law requires able-bodied adults receiving food stamps to work, train, or volunteer at least 20 hours per week in order to maintain eligibility. But states can request waivers of these requirements during economic crises. These waivers were intended to provide a temporary pause of the food stamp work requirement in areas with high unemployment or substantial job shortages.

Yet regulatory loopholes make it possible for states to abuse the system, gerrymandering areas together and using old data to exempt areas with record low unemployment and numerous job opportunities from the work requirement.

More than a third of Americans live in an area where able-bodied adults are exempt from the federal work requirement, despite a booming economy and tremendous job growth.

“Work requirements are a proven, effective way to increase incomes and reduce dependency—but as long as states are able to abuse waivers, able-bodied adults on food stamps are being denied the benefits of work,” said Sam Adolphsen, joint-author of the paper. “Congress and the Trump administration must work to close these loopholes and rein in waiver abuse to protect resources for the truly needy and move able-bodied adults from welfare to work.”

The research was authored by FGA Senior Fellow Sam Adolphsen, Vice President of Research Jonathan Ingram, Research Director Nic Horton, Research Fellow Victoria Eardley, and Senior Research Fellow Nick Stehle.

The full paper can be viewed here.

The Foundation for Government Accountability 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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