Starting from September 1, 2023, a set of new regulations concerning the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will come into effect. These regulations introduce a mandate for certain older Americans to engage in work activities in order to qualify for food assistance, while simultaneously granting exemptions to specific demographic groups. These revisions to the SNAP work requirements were integrated into the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which was passed into law on June 3, 2023, signed by President Joe Biden.
Under the current SNAP guidelines, able-bodied individuals between the ages of 18 and 49 are obligated to work or participate in job training for a minimum of 80 hours per month to maintain eligibility for the food assistance program. The Fiscal Responsibility Act, however, introduces a phased increase in the age limit for work requirements, impacting an individual’s eligibility for this vital food assistance program. This transition to age-based work requirements will unfold in three distinct phases:
How the new food stamps work requirements will be applied
The new changes in the work requirements will come into effect in three different stages. First, from September 1, 2023, the age to meet work requirements increases to 50. After, on October 1, the age will be raised to 52. Finally, from October 1, 2024, this age threshold will go up to 54.
The recent federal law also introduced new exceptions regarding work prerequisites for certain individuals. Veterans, homeless individuals, and individuals who were previously in foster care and are under the age of 25 no longer need to provide evidence of employment. These updated SNAP regulations are set to conclude on October 1, 2030.
This state is exempt from the new SNAP work requirements until 2024
Since President Biden signed the debt ceiling bill in June, recipients have been preparing for the new job requirements, because beneficiaries within the new age ranges that didn’t have to comply to the job requirements, now will have to. Except in the state of Michigan.
The Great Lakes state has been granted a waiver by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, allowing it to remain exempt from these regulations until February 29, 2024. The federal SNAP program, with a budget of $119 billion, currently extends food benefits to 1.4 million low-income households in Michigan.
For adults between the ages of 18 and 49 without dependent children, compliance with the requirement to demonstrate at least 80 hours of work or participation in job training per month is mandatory. Exceptions are made for individuals who are pregnant, have children, or are dealing with conditions that limit their ability to work.
“People who don’t meet that work requirement are eligible for only three months of SNAP,” said Julie Cassidy, senior policy analyst for the Michigan League for Public Policy. “So, if they aren’t working, or for some reason can’t report that they’re working enough, they get kicked off the program.”
Seventeen states have delayed this cliff thanks to waivers.