While the debt ceiling bill currently seeks passage from both chambers of Congress, the members of both parties expressed concerns over some of its formulations.
Let’s analyze the modified provisions of government spending and learn how the debt ceiling agreement impacts people on SNAP.
How Debt Ceiling Agreement Will Affect Those On SNAP Benefits
The debt ceiling indicates the total amount of funds that the U.S. can borrow to pay its bills, including salaries to government employees, military personnel, social security programs, etc.
There is a limit on government borrowing, and the Treasury Department plays a key role in providing the government with the required funds.
The debt ceiling limit is often raised or suspended to let the government borrow more or take the necessary actions.
Republicans passed the debt ceiling bill to reduce government spending for key sectors at 2022 levels during the next financial year.
Also, See: Sen. Mike Lee Slam McCarthy-Biden Agreement
However, the bill is suspected to impact millions of low-income Americans benefiting from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) if the government reduces fund allotment for the program.
How Debt Ceiling Agreement Will Affects SNAP recipients
First, if the politicians cannot conclude the debt ceiling agreement in time and the U.S. violates its debt limit, food payments to the SNAP recipient and other benefits could be delayed.
Second, the debt ceiling also provides for higher restrictions on the work requirements for SNAP beneficiaries.
Though the time frame of working a minimum of 20 hours weekly or 80 hours monthly continues to apply, if the recipients fail to work for the required hours, they will receive the program benefits for only three months every three years.
As per the Department of Agriculture, SNAP recipients receive around $169 monthly benefits. The increase in age requirements would likely reduce the number of SNAP beneficiaries. According to the Congressional Budget Office estimation, about 275,000 people would lose SNAP, and 19,000 would receive reduced benefits under the new deal.
Modifications of the Debt Ceiling Agreement for SNAP
The other modifications of the debt ceiling agreement for SNAP include the following.
- The agreement sets new age requirements for non-disabled adults of at least 18 years old and under 50 years for non-disabled adults under 54 years old.
- Though the bill seeks to increase the work requirement for SNAP beneficiaries, it does not alter any requirements for the Medicaid program in line with President Biden and Democrat’s suggestion.
- The debt ceiling agreement mandates the Department of Agriculture to make public applications stating work requirements for areas with high employment under the new deal.
- The new deal states that veterans, homeless people, and young adults coming out of the foster care system will be entitled to expanded access to food stamps. In addition, the work requirement cap does not apply to these people. According to the present SNAP law, only people with a mental or physical disability, people living with children, or pregnant women are exempted.
Estimation of SNAP Benefits
SNAP benefits are computed on the basis of family income and size. The beneficiary’s annual income must be at or below 130% of the poverty line.
If the household has three members, an average monthly SNAP benefit is $577, with a maximum of $740. An average SNAP payment is $1,150 for a household of eight members. For any house with more than eight members, the SNAP benefit can be calculated by adding a maximum of $211 per person.
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