STATEMENT: Share Our Strength’s Lisa Davis Responds to House Proposal Restricting SNAP Benefits for “Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents”

“While a good job is the best path out of poverty, there is little reason to believe this bill will increase employment or help anyone attain self-sufficiency,” says Davis. “Taking SNAP benefits from vulnerable Americans only serves to increase hunger.”

Contact: Meredith Jorss, 

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and 14 other House members introduced the America Works Act, a bill to tighten work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The bill would expand the age bracket of so-called able-bodied adults without dependents, or ABAWDs, from 18-49 to 18-65 and limit states’ ability to request time-limit waivers if there are an insufficient number of jobs to provide unemployment for these individuals. The following is a statement opposing this proposal from Lisa Davis, Senior Vice President of Share Our Strength and its No Kid Hungry campaign.

“This bill is punitive and counterintuitive, and we strongly oppose it. SNAP is one of our nation’s most effective nutrition programs. We should be seeking ways to strengthen and improve the program, not restrict access to it.

“As proposed, the bill fails to account for the myriad factors that drive economic mobility – income and wages, education, and workforce development, among others. While a good job is the best path out of poverty, there is little reason to believe this bill will increase employment or help anyone achieve self-sufficiency. Instead, it will only serve to take food away from vulnerable Americans. 

“While there is no evidence SNAP creates dependency or disincentives to work, there is a robust body of research reinforcing that a lack of adequate nutrition leads to poorer physical and mental health and higher health care costs.

“This proposal would cause harm to individuals who already face obstacles to work, like a lack of stable housing and access to transportation, and doesn’t take into consideration those with undiagnosed physical or mental limitations.

“Restricting access to critical nutrition programs is especially harmful at a time when food prices remain troublingly high and additional assistance like the SNAP emergency allotments have ended. Averaging about $6 per person per day, SNAP benefits remain low.

“We urge Congress to fight for a Farm Bill that protects and strengthens SNAP, rather than restricting access for those who need its benefits.”

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