SNAP Work Requirements Will Hit Rural Areas Harder, Scholar Says

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Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says the expanded requirements for some food-stamp recipients will encourage people to move off the nation’s largest anti-hunger program. But SNAP work requirements are “a mismatch for rural communities” because of structural issues like high unemployment, lack of jobs, and poor transportation says a critic of the plan.

This story has been updated to include a response from the USDA Press Office.

The USDA’s new rules requiring more SNAP participants to work or lose benefits will hit rural residents harder than the rest of the nation, according to a University of California Davis legal scholar.

Work requirements are disproportionally harmful in rural communities because of a dearth of public transportation, lack of access to child care where needed and very few available jobs,” said Lisa Pruitt, a legal scholar and Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law at the University of California-Davis. “My basic argument is that work requirements are a mismatch for rural communities.”

UPDATE: The work requirements do not apply to parents with children in the home, a USDA spokesperson said in an email statement to the Daily Yonder. “This reform is targeted specifically to adults that do not have child care responsibilities, and it is inappropriate to imply otherwise,” the statement said. The complete statement is included at the bottom of this article.

Earlier this week the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it would cancel work-requirement waivers for hundreds of thousands of participants in the nation’s largest anti-hunger program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

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