The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program helping people struggling with food insecurity. It helps 1.9 million people in Illinois (about 1 in 7 people) afford enough food to lead a healthy life.
Able bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) on SNAP are subject to a work requirement to continue receiving benefits. Normally, they are required to work at least 80 hours per month, and if they do not meet this requirement, their food assistance is limited to only 3 months in a 36 month period. But with the unemployment rate in Illinois, we simply don’t have enough jobs for everyone, which is why the federal government offers qualifying areas a waiver on this time limit. Currently, the time limit waiver protects access to SNAP benefits for about 260,000 Illinoisans. But the waiver is in danger.
The work requirement is a significant threat to people who live in areas where there simply aren’t enough jobs or job training opportunities, as well as people who experience barriers to employment, such as criminal convictions, homelessness, or disabilities. Illinois’ current time limit waiver expires at the end of 2017. Without a waiver for 2018, an estimated 260,000 Illinoisans could lose SNAP benefits, many of whom are very poor, veterans, homeless, women, and people with significant barriers to employment. Cutting SNAP for these recipients would cost Illinois more than $410 million in federal funding.
All Governor Rauner needs to do is apply. Call him today.