States Are Waiving Work Requirements in Areas with Record-High Job Openings

Despite today’s booming economy, the number of ablebodied adults who receive food stamps remains near record high levels. States report that 4.1 million able-bodied adults without dependents will receive food stamps during fiscal year 2019.

Federal law generally requires these able-bodied adults without dependents to work, train, or volunteer at least parttime to maintain food stamp eligibility. The rules apply to non-pregnant adults who are between the ages of 18 and 50, who are mentally and physically fit for employment, and who have no dependent children or incapacitated family members living at home.

Unfortunately, states have used loopholes and gimmicks to waive these work requirements in as many jurisdictions as possible. Congress intended for these waivers to be limited in nature, meant only for areas with unemployment rates above 10 percent or that otherwise lacked job opportunities for able-bodied adults.