Work requirements affect Virginians for SNAP benefits after debt ceiling deal

Margaret Minnicks
SNAP BenefitsPhoto byYouTube Screenshot

In order to avoid defaulting on the nation’s debt, President Joe Biden and Republicans negotiated that more people could be subject to work requirements to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). That decision affects Virginians as part of the national debt ceiling deal that has passed, according to WRIC-TV in Richmond, Virginia.

Current law requires all able-bodied people between the ages of 18 and 49 without children to work or take part in a training program to receive SNAP. New guidelines will increase the age to 54.

Sonny Hoge with the Liberation Church Food Pantry in Richmond says the change comes at a bad time.

“The month of April, we served over 1,600 households, and in the month of May we served over 1,800 households. So the increase was over 200 households just in a month. People are being squeezed on every level and every need, and food is one of them.”

According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 850,000 Virginians rely on SNAP benefits.

Hoge says the influx of clients is a new trend after the federal government ended pandemic-era emergency SNAP payments when the COVID-19 national and public health emergencies ended on May 11, 2023.

Hoge explained:

“Once they announced them reducing the SNAP benefits that they allotted during the COVID season. Taking that away from folks. Yeah, it’s increased over the last month.”

Hoge says adding more requirements to receiving benefits may lead to more people in search of their next meal.

Hoge told 8News:

“It could, and it probably will. I just think…them taking away the extra money and the prices of everything have gone up. We are just going to continue to see it.”

The work or training requirements for SNAP have exceptions. That means the new requirements don't apply to the following groups:

  • veterans
  • those with a physical disability
  • those with mental disability
  • the homeless
  • young adults transitioning from foster care
  • those who are pregnant

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I love pop culture, movies, television, and entertainment. I keep up to date on the latest movies and television shows. I like sharing news about them. I also like sharing information about different foods and their health benefits. I have been a high school teacher and a college professor for over 50 years and an online writer for over 30 years. I have three degrees: BA in English and Literature, MA in Christian Education, and MDiv in Theology. Get to know me through my writing.

Richmond, VA

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