***For Immediate Release***
June 5, 2023
Contact: Sierra Salgado Pirigyi
Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed
Office: (402) 438-8853 ext 116
Impacted Nebraskans Respond to Harmful Work Requirements in Debt Limit Deal
LINCOLN, NE – On Thursday, June 1, Congress passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, taking the necessary step of raising the debt limit. Unfortunately, the Act was passed with expanded harmful work requirements that will impact Nebraskans participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF).
We know that work requirements don’t work – they don’t promote access to income and stability for families, but instead cause harm and put eligible Nebraskans at risk of being cut off from the support they need to afford food and other necessities.
We also know that work requirements in these programs already exist. The Act included changes and an expansion of strict work reporting requirements that will impact Nebraskans participating in SNAP and TANF, including:
- Expanding existing SNAP work requirements to include older Nebraskans aged 50-54, subjecting more participants to time limits on their benefits.
- New work-reporting requirement exemptions to protect SNAP assistance for people experiencing homelessness, veterans, and foster youth.
- Changing the existing TANF work requirement structure by recalculating the Work Participation Rate.
“The new SNAP exemptions protecting food access for people experiencing homelessness, veterans, and former foster youth are a positive policy change, but the fact that new categories are needed to protect these groups shows that our current policies don’t work. If people experiencing homelessness don’t qualify for the existing “hardship” exemption, it is hard to know who would,” says Eric Savaiano, Program Manager for Food and Nutrition Access at Nebraska Appleseed.
“Unfortunately, these exemptions will not apply to many of the Nebraskans in the 50-54 age range who will see their food assistance taken away. Their basic needs should never have been on the table in the debt ceiling negotiations.”
The impact of these new work requirements are already being felt by Nebraskans:
“I think any work requirements for food are outrageous. Human beings need to eat. That’s the bottom line.” – Shelley Moore, Lincoln, NE
“Work requirements are ridiculous because they don’t help a person. Work requirements were already up to age 50 and now they’re up to age 54 because of the debt limit vote. I worry about the older adults who are at risk of losing their SNAP now. Everyone needs to eat. It’s a human right so why are we making it harder to access?” – Sierra Edmisten, Hastings, NE
“As someone disabled but not designated as disabled who is already subject to a work requirement I am saddened to see that this requirement has been extended to more people. It’s disappointing that we are making it harder to access a basic need.” – Angela Montalvo, Ogallala, NE
Nebraska Appleseed will provide additional resources as these expanded work requirements are phased into implementation in Nebraska. We will continue to fight against unnecessary work requirements and other harmful program changes at the state and federal level.