Work Requirements Beyond Medicaid
Work Requirements Beyond Medicaid: An Attempt to Unravel the Safety Net
Work requirements are being considered for many types of government programs, not just Medicaid. For example, the House passed a Farm Bill last week that includes additional work requirements for food assistance programs. These proposals are harmful to people with disabilities, many of whom rely on these programs. They make it hard to join or stay on existing programs, punish unemployed or underemployed workers for not having a job with enough hours and penalize people who face barriers to work.
Many of these families already work. They already face strict requirements. Even families that should get exemptions based on a disability will be hurt. Depending on the program, people who lose benefits because they don’t meet work requirements may not be allowed to re-enroll, and family members may also be denied benefits. Fewer people will be able to use programs that were designed to provide support to those most in need.
On April 10, 2018, President Trump issued an order that asks all agencies to review all rules and guidance to find places where work requirements can be added. The order says that it will improve “opportunity and economic mobility.” In practice, it adds requirements to make it harder for families to get help. It’s not yet clear what additional public assistance programs will be targeted, but it’s part of a larger push based on a false impression that current programs don’t have adequate accountability and that people and families in need would do better with stricter requirements to get access to help.
Food Assistance — SNAP
Work requirements are being considered for the food assistance Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as “food stamps” in the past. Changes are moving forward both in law and in regulations. Adding barriers to nutrition assistance will hurt low income people, including people with disabilities.
On June 21, 2018, H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (also known as the “Farm Bill”) that would reduce or cut off SNAP for millions of people across the U.S., including many people with disabilities and their families, passed in the House. In the Senate, S. 3042 is expected to be taken up this week, with a vote likely on Thursday, June 28. Unlike the House Farm Bill, H.R. 2, the Senate bill protects SNAP benefit levels and eligibility, and would avoid harming low-income people who use the program.
Preserve SNAP for People with Disabilities Fact Sheet, Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (5/7/18)
House Farm Bill’s SNAP Cuts, Work Requirements Would Hurt People with Disabilities, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (5/1/18)
SNAP Proposals Would Increase Food Insecurity and Hardship, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (5/1/18)
SNAP Provides Needed Food Assistance to Millions of People with Disabilities, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (6/14/17)
House Farm Bill Would Sabotage SNAP, The Center for Law and Social Policy (4/17/2018)
There are several current proposals to create or add to work requirements in affordable housing programs and federal rental assistance. Recently, the Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed a bill called the “Making Affordable Housing Work Act of 2018” that includes work requirements. The bill also triples rents for the poorest households.
Housing Work Requirements Would Harm Families, Including Many Workers, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (5/3/18)
Trump Administration Proposes to Implement Rent Increases, Work Requirements, and Other Burdens on Low Income Families, The National Low Income Housing Coalition (4/30/18)