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Perdue: USDA Reverting to Original Intent of SNAP
USAgNet - 12/05/2019

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a final rule to move more able-bodied recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program towards self-sufficiency and into employment. The move restores the system to what Congress intended: assistance through difficult times, not a way of life.

"Americans are generous people who believe it is their responsibility to help their fellow citizens when they encounter a difficult stretch. Government can be a powerful force for good, but government dependency has never been the American dream. We need to encourage people by giving them a helping hand but not allowing it to become an indefinitely giving hand," said Secretary Perdue. "Now, in the midst of the strongest economy in a generation, we need everyone who can work, to work. This rule lays the groundwork for the expectation that able-bodied Americans re-enter the workforce where there are currently more job openings than people to fill them."

In 1996, when then President Bill Clinton signed welfare reform instituting the current work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) he said, "First and foremost, it should be about moving people from welfare to work. It should impose time limits on welfare... It work gives structure, meaning and dignity to most of our lives."

With an economy that has more jobs than workers to fill them and a low unemployment rate, now is the time for every work-capable American to find employment. In fact, the latest U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) figures show the unemployment rate is 3.6% and there are 7.0 million job openings.The longer an individual is out of the workforce, the harder it is to re-enter. Now is the time for these individuals to enter, reenter, and remain in the workforce, USDA said in a release Wednesday.

USDA's final rule promotes work for able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 49 without dependents and does not apply to children and their parents, those over 50 years old including the elderly, those with a disability, or pregnant women.

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