USDA proposes new rule for SNAP program work requirements

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed a new rule tightening regulations over Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) work requirement waivers. The new rule would only grant waivers to SNAP work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) if the unemployment rate in certain areas was over 7 percent. The rule also prevents states from combining areas of high and low unemployment to receive waivers for larger geographic areas. Previously, USDA granted waivers to states containing areas with unemployment rates 20 percent above the national average. 
 
The USDA proposed the rule as a response to President Trump’s Executive Order 13828, which directed agencies to strengthen work requirements for work-capable individuals receiving benefits from public assistance programs. The executive order asked agencies to review regulations and guidance documents to see whether they increased self-sufficiency, well-being, and economic mobility.
 
Proposed rules are preliminary versions of a prospective federal agency regulation. If an agency determines that a new regulation is necessary, the agency develops a proposed rule for publication in the Federal Register. After a period of public comment, the agency may determine to revise the proposed rule, abandon the proposal, or move forward to the final rule stage of the rulemaking process.
 
An executive order is a formal command handed down from the president to federal agencies within the executive branch. While executive orders are legally binding, they are not laws; they are instructions on how the executive branch ought to enforce the law. These instructions must line up with existing U.S. laws and the U.S. Constitution.
 
Executive orders differ from other types of executive action, namely presidential proclamations and presidential memorandums. Unlike executive orders, presidential memorandums are not numbered or cataloged, and they do not require the president to cite any authority for their issuance. Proclamations direct the actions of individuals rather than government agencies and are often ceremonial. 



About the author

Jace Lington

Jace Lington is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at jace.lington@ballotpedia.org

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