Please click here to file your own comments in support of the Trump Administration’s proposal to end the abuse of SNAP time limit waivers for able-bodied adults without children. The deadline is April 2nd. The Rio Grande Foundation’s comments (including a link to an important study from the Foundation for Government Accountability) follow:

The Rio Grande Foundation is a free market public policy research organization based in Albuquerque. It is a non-profit, 501c3 organization and non-partisan in nature.

New Mexico is a state that has traditionally struggled economically, but even at a time like now of near record-low unemployment nationally and a relatively healthy New Mexico economy with abundant job openings there are too many able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD’s) on the federal food stamps (SNAP) program.

According to the Foundation for Government Accountability, there are 27,244 ABAWD’s in New Mexico that are currently exempt from the SNAP work requirement. This is not a healthy situation for them and their self-worth, job skills, and ultimately their mental and physical health. The compassionate thing to do is for federal and state policies to push these people to get back in the work force.

This happens to be best for both the New Mexico and national economy as well where these productive, engaged members of society can be active participants in the economy and thus tax-paying citizens as opposed to recipients of welfare provided at taxpayer expense. More importantly, even in areas of relatively high unemployment the ABAWD time limit waiver slows state and national economic growth by decreasing the chance that New Mexicans receiving welfare benefits will search out the jobs that are being created as our state’s economy improves.

We strongly support the Administration’s efforts to end the abuse of SNAP time limit waivers and further call on them to prohibit waivers in any area that does not have unemployment above the 10 percent the statutory threshold and to end the unlimited carryover of ABAWD percentage exemptions in order to encourage broader application of the statutory ABAWD work requirement

These waivers are counterproductive policies that have the unintended effect of trapping SNAP participants in the cycle of dependency and poverty while stressing resources intended for the truly needy. They increase the likelihood that a participant and their family will remain on assistance, making them more likely to live in poverty.