Senior Research Analyst
SNAP and Medicaid participants face a labor market that’s characterized by low and stagnant wages and job instability, new research from leading economists Kristin F. Butcher and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach shows.
That finding contrasts sharply with this month’s report from President Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers that suggested that taking SNAP or Medicaid benefits away from those who don’t work would improve their outcomes. But that report, which comes amid debate over such proposals, ignores the realities of the low-wage labor market, where jobs aren’t always available and work often doesn’t provide lasting economic security.
Butcher and Schanzenbach find that:
This research has important implications for current policy debates. When SNAP or Medicaid participants work, they generally work in low-wage jobs that are often volatile and sometimes don’t provide high enough wages to lift them out of poverty. Many still need Medicaid or SNAP to meet basic needs even when they’re working. Some may also experience periods when they’re out of work, and these proposed requirements that they work a certain number of hours each week or month would put their food assistance benefits or health coverage at risk when they need that support most. As a result, work requirements would likely do little to reduce poverty and would instead put many low-income workers at risk of losing benefits.