Increased Work Requirements Mean Fewer SNAP Benefits for Ilinoisans
Monday, June 12, 2023
Almost 2 million people in Illinois receive SNAP food assistance, but several hundred thousand are expected to lose access to it at the end of October, after pandemic-related extensions expire.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated the debt ceiling agreement would put almost 750,000 adults ages 50 to 54 at risk of losing food assistance because they do not meet the SNAP work reporting requirements.
Steve Erickson, executive director of Feeding Illinois, said most people are not just taking advantage of the system to get food. They have real needs and are often already working.
"Folks that are challenged already to make ends meet, putting an additional requirement on it is just going to make it more difficult, because it's not about just the work requirement," Erickson pointed out. "It's getting to work, you have day care needs. How else does that disrupt or affect your life or your household? Most people want to work if they can."
Apart from SNAP changes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children will need an additional $615 million in Fiscal Year 2024 in order to meet the program's expanding caseload.
Erickson noted he does not like to see any employment requirements tied to food benefits, adding such restrictions are not the only barriers to receiving benefits in Illinois.
"There are income guidelines," Erickson explained. "There's a lot of folks that need help that aren't eligible for SNAP; about a third of the population that is in that gap. But I personally think the biggest barrier is just access to internet and the ability to help themselves to the benefits that are available through the (Illinois Department of Human Services) aid platform."
More than two-thirds of Illinois households receiving SNAP benefits include children.
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