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California Shows Why Congress Needs to Eliminate Food Stamp Work Requirement Loophole

Despite a booming economy and a record-low unemployment rate nationally, at least one state has been working overtime to ensure its work-capable food stamp recipients don’t have to work.

Current law requires non-elderly, able-bodied adults without dependent children to work or participate in work-related activities, such as education and job training programs, for at least 20 hours per week in exchange for food stamp benefits.

Yet the state of California took advantage of loopholes to exempt more than 800,000 such recipients from the work requirement.

One loophole allows states to waive the work requirement in geographic areas where the unemployment rate is more than 10 percent or where the two-year average unemployment rate is at least 20 percent above the national average.

Those waivers are ripe for abuse because states have considerable latitude to create a waiver-eligible “area” that maximizes the number of food stamp recipients whose work requirements are waived.

For example, states might combine neighboring areas with relatively high unemployment rates with those that have low unemployment—so long as the average unemployment rate across the areas is at least 20 percent higher than the national average.

Read the full story from The Daily Signal

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