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food stamp loopholes

New Study Highlights how the Trump Administration Can Move Able-Bodied Adult Siblings from Welfare to Work

Naples, FL — A new study from the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) shows how closing a loophole within the food stamp program could move tens of thousands of able-bodied adults from welfare to work and save taxpayers up to $800 million a year.

Under federal law, able-bodied adult parents and caretakers with dependent children are exempt from food stamp work requirements. But inconsistent Clinton-era food stamp rules broadened this exemption to include all able-bodied adults in households with children, effectively exempting able-bodied adult siblings of dependent children. The rule conflicts with the plain meaning of the food stamp statute, is inconsistent with other USDA rules, and traps able-bodied Americans in dependency.

According to the report, there are nearly 650,000 able-bodied adult siblings on food stamps today, more than twice as many as in 2000. More than 82 percent of these able-bodied adults do not work at all.

“This loophole has trapped tens of thousands of able-bodied adults in dependency and has kept them from the benefits of work, despite there being a demand for workers and millions of open jobs,” said Jonathan Ingram, vice president of research at FGA. “The Trump administration has the opportunity to reverse this loophole on its own, ending the exemption of able-bodied adult siblings and saving taxpayers up to $800 million a year.”


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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