Congressional Republicans are proposing stricter work requirements for people who get food stamps.
A new poll shows broad support for the changes.
Even though it’s called the farm bill, the biggest debate about the newest proposal will be changes to work requirements for people getting food stamps. Should the bill become law, adults ages 18 to 59 would be required to either work or attend job training classes for 20 hours weekly to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The disabled, pregnant and parents caring for kids under 6 would be exempt.
While the bill faces an uncertain future in the U.S. Senate, the latest poll funded by the nonpartisan Foundation for Government Accountability shows broad support from the public for the changes.
Leaning slightly Democratic, it found 82 percent support “requiring able-bodied, working-age adults to work or participate in a job training program at least part-time in order to receive food stamps.” Thirteen percent opposed.
“Whether it’s Republicans, Democrats or Independents, the public supports work requirements in exchange for public assistance,” FGA Senior Fellow Josh Archambault said.
Seventy-six percent said that work-for-welfare requirements should only be exempt in counties with unemployment levels at 10 percent or higher.
There are provisions in the proposed farm bill, per FGA officials, that would keep states from manipulating their unemployment data to receive a waiver from a work requirement, similar to what Illinois did.
Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office said there were places in Illinois without the jobs to support a work requirement when they successfully acquired a waiver for non-working adults to receive food stamps.