SNAP Work Requirements: Changes Affecting Arizona Beneficiaries – What You Need to Know
SNAP work requirements change the landscape of food assistance in Arizona. (Photo: Connecticut Public)
Understanding SNAP Work Requirements: Who Qualifies and What’s Changing in Arizona
According to AZCENTRAL article, new SNAP work requirements are on the horizon for select Arizonans, affecting beneficiaries of the nation’s largest food supplement program. Starting September 1, these changes focus on able-bodied adults without dependents aged 18 to 52 who are physically and mentally capable of working and have no dependent minors. While these alterations go into effect nationwide, Arizona’s implementation is set for October 1, providing impacted recipients about a month to meet the new criteria. Certain exemptions apply, including individuals residing outside Maricopa County.
The Arizona Department of Economic Security defines able-bodied adults without dependents as those aged 18 to 52, physically and mentally capable of work, and without dependent minors. Failure to comply with the new SNAP work requirements results in the federal government limiting their SNAP benefits to just three months within three years.
To maintain benefits, they must either work 80 hours a month, including paid work, self-employment, volunteering, or in-kind work, participate in approved SNAP work requirements activities for a minimum of 80 hours monthly, combine work with such activities, or provide good cause for not meeting requirements. Exemptions include a statewide waiver until September 30, residents outside Maricopa County, and specific groups like the homeless, veterans, and former foster care youth. For more exceptions visit des.az.gov/ABAWD.
SNAP Work Requirement Changes Spark Controversy Amid Debt Negotiations and Food Insecurity Concerns
According to Yahoo News, the shift in SNAP work requirements emerged as a crucial aspect of debt ceiling negotiations, as reported by USA Today. These adjustments were instrumental in passing the recent debt bill in June but may result in approximately 750,000 adults losing their SNAP benefits nationally, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. In Arizona, where food insecurity affects one in nine adults and one in six children, this policy change carries significant consequences.
As of May 2023, USDA data reveals that 900,643 Arizona residents rely on SNAP benefits, though historical data shows that eligible Arizonans underutilize the program, with only 77% participating in 2018, compared to 82% nationally.
Enrolling in SNAP benefits can be done online via https://www.healthearizonaplus.gov/Login/Default, with language translation options available, but the process may include an in-person interview with the Arizona Department of Economic Security.