The Trump administration unveiled a plan Thursday to force hundreds of thousands more Americans to hold jobs if they want to keep receiving food stamps, pursuing through executive powers what it could not achieve in Congress.
The country’s food assistance program, which is run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, already requires most adults without dependents to work if they collect food stamps for more than three months in a three-year period. But USDA regulations allow states to waive the requirement in areas with unemployment rates that were at least 20 percent greater than the national rate.
The USDA is now proposing that states could waive the requirement only in areas where unemployment is above 7 percent. The current national unemployment rate stands at 3.7 percent.
Approximately 2.8 million able-bodied recipients without children or an ailing person in their care were not working in 2016, according to the USDA’s latest numbers. Roughly 755,000 live in areas that stand to lose the waivers.