Florida Senator Proposes Bill to Roll Back SNAP Work Requirements to Pre-Pandemic Age Limits

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Mariam Zuhaib/AP/Shutterstock (12924668d)Sen.
Mariam Zuhaib/AP/Shutterstock / Mariam Zuhaib/AP/Shutterstock

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) introduced legislation that would modify the requirements to receive federal benefits for welfare and SNAP. Named the “Let’s Get to Work Act of 2022,” the bill proposes changes to provisions in the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2021, WFLA News Channel 8 reports.

Scott proposes adding work requirements for SNAP recipients who are able-bodied and do not have dependents (ABAWD). WFLA News reports that under pandemic legislation, the age requirements for able-bodied adults to receive SNAP benefits allow those aged 50 or older to apply (lowered from age 60), even if they do not have dependents.

“Parents of children under 6, those who care for incapacitated people, and those over 60 wouldn’t be subject to work requirements for the federal benefits I’ve outlined,” he wrote in an op/ed for the Wall Street Journal.

Scott’s proposed legislation would make these changes to SNAP eligibility:

  • End the current suspension of SNAP’s work requirements for ABAWDs.
  • Expand SNAP work requirements to able-bodied adults aged 50-59 and to parents of children over 6 years old (except for parents with children under the age of 6 and persons who care for incapacitated individuals).
  • End “no-good-cause” exemptions from the SNAP ABAWD work requirement that allows states to bypass SNAP work requirements.
  • Make improvements to work requirements by addressing the marriage penalty and increasing the grace period for parents:
    • One spouse would be exempt from work requirements if the other fulfills them.
    • Increase the “grace window” for those parents with dependents who fail to meet the work requirement from 3 months in a 3-year window to 6 months in 3 years to account for added household complexities.
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In addition to changes in the SNAP program, he proposed updating Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 8 requirements to match.

“Government-run programs like SNAP and public housing are meant as safety nets for those in need. We need these programs, but we shouldn’t create a system that discourages work,” he wrote further on in the op/ed.

WFLA News pointed out that more than 2.8 million Floridians received SNAP assistance in May. While it was 15.9% lower than the same period last year, the number of beneficiaries increased by 0.4% month-over-month, according to data from the Florida Department of Children and Families.

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