How the debt ceiling deal could impact food stamp recipients in Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — The bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling included some changes for food stamp recipients.

Before, anyone under 50 who did not have children needed to work at least 80 hours a month to qualify for food stamps.

But now, that applies to childless recipients under 54.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., estimates that almost 750,000 adults ages 50 to 54 will be at risk of losing food assistance under the new requirements. 

A Nebraska nonprofit said this is going to put a lot of people in the state at risk.

“Work requirements should’ve never been on the table in these debt ceiling negotiations because the purpose of SNAP is to provide meals, to provide supplemental nutrition and assistance to families and individuals who need it” said Eric Savaiano, who manages programs for food and nutrition access at Nebraska Appleseed. 

Officials said the changes will cut spending on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, partly by reducing how many people qualify for assistance. 

The policy will be implemented in phases. By 2025, it will apply to those 54 and under.

The change will expire in 2030.

The expanded requirement also has plenty of supporters.

“It will help get Americans off the sidelines of our economy and back into the workforce while preserving these programs for those who truly need them,” said Rep. Adrian Smith of Nebraska.

Those exempt from the work requirements include the homeless, veterans or those who were in the foster care system. 

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