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Anyone aged 16 to 59 who is able to work and is eligible for SNAP has to follow work requirements to obtain benefits, like showing that they’re applying for work, doing employment training through the SNAP program or taking suitable job offers as they come.
There’s an extra set of requirements for able-bodied Americans who don’t have dependents. Before the change, only Americans ages 18 to 49 who were able to work and didn’t have dependents were subject to the extra requirement.
Beginning on Sept. 1, that age limit increased to 50. On Sunday, Oct. 1, it will go up to 52. In October 2024, the age limit will rise to 54.
In order to meet the requirement, applicants must:
- Work at least 80 hours per month, for either pay or for good and services, or as a volunteer
- Participate in a work program for at least 80 hours per month, either through SNAP or another government program
- Participate in a combination of work and a work program for at least 80 hours
- Participate in workfare for an assigned number of hours each month, depending on the benefit
Applicants are excused from the requirements if they are:
- Unable to work due to physical or mental limitations
- Have someone younger than 18 in the household
- Otherwise excused from the general work requirements
Learn more about the requirements on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website.
The new requirements were set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, a congressional deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and avoid default. They’re also temporary and will expire on Oct. 1, 2030.
The deal also expanded exceptions to the age limit to include homeless individuals, veterans and anyone age 24 or younger who was in foster care or otherwise in state custody when they turned 18.
The changes impact about 750,000 Americans, including about 28,000 Ohioans currently enrolled in SNAP, according to a May analysis of the debt ceiling deal. The report came from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal-leaning think tank.