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Resources on SNAP and Work

SNAP is an important support for low-income workers. Millions of Americans work in jobs with low wages, unpredictable schedules, and no benefits such as paid sick leave — all of which contribute to high turnover and spells of unemployment. SNAP provides monthly benefits that help fill the gaps for workers with low and inconsistent pay, and can help workers weather periods without a job. Several features of SNAP, such as its benefit structure, make it an effective support for workers and incentivize work. On the other hand, SNAP’s harsh three-month time limit for unemployed childless adults, which requires individuals to report sufficient work or training hours, cuts off benefits for participants who may be looking for work or who face barriers to work, creating hardship for some workers. SNAP also has general work requirements that apply to a broader group of participants. Some states opt to require people to participate in training or face the loss of benefits. 

These resources provide evidence of SNAP’s role as a work support and describe the impact of SNAP’s three-month time limit and of state options to waive this time limit in areas of high unemployment. Resources from across the Center also show how work requirements do not increase work nor reduce hardship.