Maintaining SNAP Benefits for Unemployed and Underemployed People Struggling in the Labor Market
Since 1996, many childless adults between the ages of 18 and 50 can only get Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for three months in a 36-month period unless they are exempt or are able to document sufficient work hours. This vulnerable population includes veterans, youth aging out of foster care, individuals reentering the workforce after incarceration, and the chronically unhoused. Many of the people subject to time limits either cannot find jobs or get too few hours of work in the jobs they do have. This Food Research and Action Center’s research brief explains the SNAP time limit provisions and discusses priorities for outreach, proper screening for time limit exemptions, and use of discretionary exemptions and waivers for areas that have 10 percent or higher unemployment or other indicators of insufficient jobs.