Work Requirement

This week the Agriculture Committee in Congress looks at stricter work requirements for food stamps as part of the larger farm bill

In the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, able-bodied people without kids can receive food stamps for three months without having to work. After that, they’ve got to get a job or be enrolled in job training for at least 20 hours a week.

People are exempt from those rules if they are pregnant, younger than 18 or older than 49.

President Trump quietly signed an executive order Tuesday, directing federal agencies to strengthen the work requirements for various welfare programs. The move could eventually affect recipients of Medicaid, food stamps, housing assistance and cash welfare.

The administration argues that despite low unemployment — just 4.1 percent last month — enrollment in various government assistance programs remains high, years into the economic recovery.

Valeri Potapova / Shutterstock

With the blessing of the Trump administration, Ohio is looking into imposing work requirements on able-bodied Medicaid recipients. Last week, a healthcare advocacy group delivered hundreds of letters to the state Medicaid office to express their opposition to the plan.

Dan Konik / Statehouse News Bureau

The budget Ohio's Legislature passed last year requires the state to apply for permission to impose work requirements on able-bodied Medicaid recipients. That could mean thousands of Ohioans could lose their health-care coverage.

On Friday, Kentucky became the first state with federal approval to implement a so-called work requirement for Medicaid recipients. The commonwealth is one of ten states, including Indiana, that have requested approval from the federal government for such a provision.


The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced it will support state policies that require people to work for their Medicaid coverage. Ten states —including Indiana and Kentucky — have submitted proposals to add a so-called work requirement to their Medicaid plans.