New SNAP Food Stamp Rules April 1, 2020

The USDA and federal government will be enforcing a number of work requirements that are part of the SNAP food stamp program. The tightened regulations will go into effect April 1, 2020 and could cause as many as 700,000 families to lose their government food benefits.

The regulations being put into place by the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) are not new, rather the government is enforcing work rules that are already in place. As the federal government was giving exemptions to some states as well as local counties that allowed more people to get SNAP food stamps than in fact should receive the help.

Who may have their food stamps cut in 2020?

The changes to the SNAP food stamp program are around work requirements. As noted, it may impact anywhere from 600,000 to 700,000 adult recipients. In addition, the adults who will have their SNAP benefits stopped will be considered “work eligible”. The disabled, senior citizens, pregnant women, single moms or dads and families with children will not be impacted.

SNAP food stamps was always meant to be an assistance program that was a stop gap type measure. The federal benefit was aimed to help feed families that are going through a short term hardship or those that live in or close to poverty (provided they continue to work and/or make efforts to get a job or new skills). Instead what has happened is hundreds of thousands of able bodied adults have come to really on SNAP (and other cash assistance programs) as a “way of life”. Many of them unfortunately use government benefits instead of working and/or “fending” for themselves. And everyone else who works hard and pays taxes is in fact giving a portion of their hard earned money to those able bodied adults who do not work.

It is estimated that about 75% of the 2.8 million work eligible adults, or 600,000 to 700,000 people, are not working. Even though the job market is the strongest it has been in a generation, and unemployment rates are at 50 year lows, hundreds of thousands of adults are not working and in effect relying on SNAP food stamps and/or other forms of public assistance. Effective April 1, 2020 those non-working adults will have their benefits cut.

What can a person who can’t work do?

Now if for some reason they can’t get a job (of at least 20 hours per week) they could still keep getting their SNAP food stamps if they participate in federal government SNAP-funded Employment and Training programs. They will need to commit to these job training as well as educational services though. Then, when done with that, they will need to get a job. So anyone who may be impacted on April 1, 2020 still has some options. Or find other ways to get help when food stamps are cut.

Effective April 1, 2020 if an able bodied adult is not working at least 20 hours per week, they will only be eligible for at most 3 months of assistance from SNAP Food Stamp benefits during a three-year period. The federal government will not enforce this and not allow as many states and/or counties to get around that rule. Of course, it is contingent on the continued strength of the economy; if the economy and/or job market slows down then that can always be reevaluated.

Is the food stamp program being abused?

Maybe. There is what we think an eye opening stat that shows how the SNAP food stamp program has grown (maybe uncontrollably) over the years. Think about this figure.

Back in the year 2000 there were 17 million people receiving food stamps. Today there are about 36 million. However, the unemployment rate in 2000 was 4% and now, today the unemployment rate is 3.6%. In other words, the job market is stronger today than it was in 2000, yet twice as many people get food stamps. What would possibly explain that?

Abuse, fraud, people becoming reliant, etc. Who knows, but the fact is that seems to be a huge discrepancy that is hopefully looked into. Maybe by making these changes to the program next year, it will bring more visibility to SNAP food stamps and these challenges.

If you are an able bodied adult relying on food stamps, and are not working, then be prepared to either (1) get a job (2) enter into government approved job training or (3) lose your food stamps. As effective April 1, 2020 there will be changes to the program that stop the exemptions from occurring.


  1. Ronald

    Adults (age 19 to 49), who are not disabled and who are “able bodied”, who are unwilling to work and even gain the basic amount of self-sufficiency, we should not support them. Quite frankly they have serious issues that reach beyond what food stamps can do for them which means by giving these people food stamps we are as a nation wasting money.

    See how food stamp use has doubled in a rip roaring economy. There was a day back when the dignity of employment, the willingness to work hard for an income and the opportunity to build skills was woven into the fabric of American society. Holding a job, providing for family and self-sufficiency was a path that demonstrated self-worth that our great country has lost in this current generation.

    Food stamps alone cannot fix what is broken in able bodied adults who do not work – they have bigger issues in life.

  2. Angelia Justice

    Even with the low unemployment rate there are areas of our country where jobs are not available. People are also working for less wages than the past. Please view government labor statistics for these facts. There are also people who are working but are eligible for the SNAP program. Studies have shown food stamps don’t discourage people from finding jobs. I don’t know what the answer is but we can’t let people in poverty areas starve.

  3. Aeret

    Absolutely agree Angelia. Also people fail to realize that people can work and still not make enough to support their families. SNAP has such a negative stereotype attached to it that people are willing to cut the budget and let families starve rather than do some actual research in finding effective ways to have families employed with a career that makes enough financially to support their needs. Instead of people bashing welfare & SNAP recipients research and compassion are needed. Poverty isn’t a choice, nobody chooses to live off of SNAP.

  4. Iris

    The government needs to raise the minimum wage to end food stamps..when was the last time that happened? Wages have not increased in decades. Regular people are not even able to afford a home because of it. The 1% in this country is ridiculously rich and under the current administration getting even more rich. The rest are catching breadcrumbs and cuts to SNAP food stamps and now even that is going to go away.

  5. Tammy

    Look at the statistics. Actual SNAP abuse percentage is low. I have yet to meet anyone who abuses it. And have talked with one woman (who is severely disabled) about how her SNAP food stamps were cut in more than half. Nothing had changed. She needs SNAP to be able to eat every month. Disability and SSI really don’t pay enough to survive. So, no one is safe if they are cutting the disabled’s SNAP benefits. I’m scared. I’m disabled and have kids that I need to take care of. Even though they said they aren’t cutting the disabled’s SNAP food stamps benefits, I’ve seen a prime example of them doing it and it’s not even April 2020 yet.

  6. Deonne

    I have yet to see any abuse of food stamps at almost age 70. I’m convinced that even if a person is not able to work, mentally challenged, disabled, or in a job program; the harsh reality is that a personal attack is being made by the government upon whomever isn’t RICH. This has been the case since the current president. I wonder what will be next in addition to the SNAP food stamps rules being changed in April? He’s ONLY FOR THE WEALTHY and RICH. As long as he’s in office unfortunately all who are middle class, poor working class, transitioning class or just poor, they ARE GOING TO BE TARGETS and SUFFER. The rules will change for food stams and everything else. A form of Undercover Prejudices.

  7. Sidney

    Many people forget that the USDA has special rules for those who are disabled and elderly. You have to have 35.00 or more in medical cost just to get a raise in SNAP benefits, and that is not a new rule but an old one. If not you will only get 16.00 a month and who can live on that. Check the USDA rules for more information. This is one way to hurt people that are disabled and living on a fixed budget that will not increase even with 15.00 per hour wage increase. It too may be cut on April 1. It is a choice between food or rent and starve to keep a place to live. No one is even addressing this dark side of SNAP.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *