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Some people between the ages of 50-54 will no longer receive SNAP after the three-month time limit.

Debt-ceiling deal will impact 750,000 SNAP recipients

SNAP users aged 50-54 are the most impacted; analyst said they could cut back on food spending as a result

U.S. President Joe Biden signed a measure to lift the debt ceiling into law over the weekend, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was one of the many federal-assistance segments impacted.

According to research from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, some 750,000 adults between 50 and 54 will lose their SNAP benefits with the new changes. Supermarket News spoke with Bloomberg Intelligence Senior Analyst Duane Wright, who said difficult decisions had to be made on both sides of the aisle to get a deal done.

“No one party had control and Republicans have long targeted these programs for changes, whether it’s welfare, Medicaid, or SNAP,” he said. “They wanted to curtail a lot of these benefits in general. In the end Democrats tried to keep it as minimized as possible by agreeing to some level of additional work requirements for SNAP.”

The changes will be phased in over the next five years. Previously, SNAP had a work-requirement time limit for non-disabled, childless individuals aged 18-49. Those who failed to document 20 hours per week of work on average within the month were only allowed three months of federal assistance per a 36-month period. 

The debt ceiling negotiation increased the age range from 18-49 to 18-54. Homeless, veterans, and those aged 18-24 leaving foster care will not be subject to the work requirements. 

However, some people between the ages of 50-54 will no longer receive SNAP after the three-month time limit. Those individuals will have to prove they are enrolled in a job training program or working the 20 hours a month if they would like to continue to receive SNAP money.

“It could have been a harder hit if they required more hours on the job front or not including some of these exclusions, but the Democrats managed to work in some exclusions to make it hit not as hard as it could have,” said Wright.

Food pantries across the country have been slammed during this recent bout of inflation, and many are being stretched to their limits. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, the director of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University, said people in the 50-54 age group are particularly low income, and “I’d expect them to cut back on their food spending as a result.”

“Time will tell what the impact is going to be,” said Wright. “I think there are macroeconomic issues at play that also are playing into this so that is going to have an impact. This expansion is a slow one so it will not be all at once, so time will tell in terms of what the ultimate impact is going to be as far as these other entities.”


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