Alaska pursuing SNAP changes to require more people to work for food benefits

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Alaska is looking to require some welfare beneficiaries to work more in order to qualify for cash.

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The state’s Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy wants to impose stricter work requirements for people applying for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – colloquially known as food stamps – benefits, a spokesperson confirmed to FOX Business on Monday.

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Currently, most Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 are required to work at least 20 hours per week in order to qualify for the program, per federal rules.

However, some states can seek work requirement waivers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to exempt residents from these guidelines if they have high unemployment rates or scarce job opportunities.

Alaska, which has applied for these exemptions for years, is looking to amend terms for areas where the unemployment rate is less than 10 percent, where able-bodied adults without dependents would be required to fulfill the federal work requirements.

A representative for Dunleavy said that the change would affect about 6,900 people. They are not anticipating a large number of individuals to lose eligibility.

About 87,920 Alaskans receive benefits through the program.

Alaska has submitted its request to the Department of Agriculture and is expecting to receive a response in the coming weeks.

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Meanwhile, the Trump administration recently proposed new rules that would restrict access to SNAP, ending benefits for more than 3 million people. The proposal would prevent states from automatically enrolling residents who are receiving other welfare benefits.

President Trump is a proponent of tightening work requirements for the program, overall.

On the other hand, some Democrats are seeking to move in the other direction and expand the program. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is running for her party’s nomination in 2020, introduced a proposal to expand the program to low-income college students.

This story has been updated.