Why the Trump Administration Should Move Able-Bodied Adult Siblings from Welfare to Work

Under the federal food stamp statute, able-bodied adults without dependents are required to work, train, or volunteer at least part-time in order to maintain their eligibility. Able-bodied adult parents and other caretakers who are responsible for dependent children are automatically exempt from this requirement. However, three days before leaving office, the Clinton administration issued new regulations that broadened this exemption even further.

The Clinton administration unilaterally created the exemption for able-bodied adult siblings through regulation and subregulatory guidance. The current regulation conflicts with the plain meaning of the food stamp statute, Congressional intent, how most states initially interpreted the terms, and the agency’s interpretation of similar terms in other contexts.

Even with a divided Congress, the Trump administration can help restore program integrity and work-first policies, helping more able-bodied adults find self-sufficiency and protecting resources for the truly needy.