Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP)
At the beginning of fiscal year 2015, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provided $78 billion in benefits to approximately 46 million people, a significant increase from 2000, when 17 million people received roughly $18 billion in benefits.
Today, 14.6 percent of the U.S. population is receiving assistance under the SNAP program. It is now one of the fastest-growing welfare entitlements in our federal budget, and one of the largest.
One reason SNAP grew so quickly during the recent recession is the program’s failure to require recipients to actively seek employment. In 2013, just one-quarter of childless adult households receiving food stamps had any earned income. The remaining three-quarters had no earned income, meaning they were not working at all.
By restoring strong work requirements, time limits, and asset and eligibility testing, states can reduce food stamp rolls, save taxpayers billions of dollars and return more people to work and self-sufficiency. According to the Foundation for Government Accountability, “If every state restored working requirements and time limits to match the federal baseline, more than 4.8 million fewer Americans would be trapped in food stamp dependence while taxpayers would save more than $7.1 billion annually.”
Reinstating work requirements and the benefits that follow should not be a complicated legislative battle. Governors can simply decline to renew the work waivers they have been given under the Obama administration.