News and Commentary

Trump Considers Drug Testing, Work Requirements For Food Stamp Recipients

It looks like changes are coming down the pike for able-bodied food stamp recipients.

President Donald Trump is mulling over allowing states to drug test some food stamp recipients, AP reports. Currently, states are legally prohibited from enacting their own requirements on recipients, though a reported 20 states have introduced legislation that would screen welfare programs.

Moreover, President Trump urged federal agency heads earlier this week to tighten up or implement work requirements for those who take government assistance.

An anonymous official from the Trump administration told AP that potential drug testing would only apply to about 5% of those enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), targeting only able-bodied recipients without dependents and seeking specialized jobs.

United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has publicly vowed to offer states “greater control over SNAP.”

“As a former governor, I know first-hand how important it is for states to be given flexibility to achieve the desired goal of self-sufficiency for people,” said Perdue. “We want to provide the nutrition people need, but we also want to help them transition from government programs, back to work, and into lives of independence.”

As noted by The Hill, “Trump signed an executive order calling for federal agencies to establish or strengthen existing work requirements for certain individuals who benefit from federal welfare programs.” A memo issued from the White House “argued those who rely on welfare would have an easier time achieving economic mobility through strengthened work requirements where they already exist and the creation of new ones where applicable.”

This is not the first step the Trump administration has taken concerning government assistance programs. The USDA rolled out a plan to replace some food stamp recipients’ benefits with the “America’s Harvest Box,” a pre-packed box of food. “The food box plan was tucked into the Trump administration’s proposed 2019 budget, which included cutting the SNAP program by $213 billion over the next 10 years. SNAP provides food assistance to roughly 42 million Americans,” notes AP.