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Should Low-Income People Do Something to Get SNAP? Nation Remains Divided

Should Low-Income People Do Something to Get SNAP? Nation Remains Divided

The current state of the opinion

The masses in the United States have a diverse opinion regarding the execution of safety-net programs and the same is reflected in the political stage as well. The Republicans, for example, are more tend towards tightening the work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP or food stamps and other Medical insurance or Housing assistance initiatives of the government. The Democrats along with rights’ advocates, on the other hand, maintain that the work obligations can potentially deny or completely disallow the said benefits to most deserving and most vulnerable.

In May 2019, the state of Kentucky and Trump administrations are reflecting that work requirement already in use by SNAP as a reason the U.S. Court of Appeals should reverse a decision to strike down medical assistance program reforms. The Health and Human Services Secretary used proper judgment to endorse the state’s Section 1115 waiver that requires healthy Medicaid recipients to work 20 hours a week to qualify for the program. The SNAP program already requires the Participants to work in exchange for the federal assistance program.

Another argument give during the proceeding was that the central objective of the 1996 welfare reform legislation was to smash the ‘cycle of welfare’ through ‘the dignity, the power, and the ethics of work,’ ” highlighted in the federal government’s brief, which quoted by then-President Clinton


Many studies have been carried out by the government, institutions and private researchers to find out whether the general public in America wants the government to precondition these federal assistance programs with work requirements. Besides from what experts suggest, in most of the researches, it was discovered that the American Nation is split on the subject.

There are the following aspects of the discussion:

For the last 50 years, the economists have been writing and speculating about the expenses and benefits of contribution requirements in the implementation of the assistance program in general and SNAP in particular.

Some believe that meager fees or other mandates are important to understand whether the recipients’ vale the aid, at the same time it could be helpful to ascertain the eligibility for these benefits.  Those in support of the fees etc. are of the opinion that this compulsion works for all regardless of their financial status, because everyone will accept the assistance for free. For example, anyone in the neighborhood might accept a bag of kale harvested from your garden for free but only those who actually plan to cook the greens would be willing to pay even a pittance for it.

However, a trade-off argument here is that work obligations and other eventualities are difficult enough for the participant that some in extreme need will not be able to get this help.



About the significance of Cash Contribution

Research by the University of California San Diego economists was carried out to see if the public, in general, is aware of the trade-offs or not. It is crucial as the lawmakers, being public representatives have to respond to the people’s inclination.

Nearly 5,000 Americans were involved in a representative paid ($8/ participant) online survey panel over the internet. They were asked how much of the money paid by the survey team, would they be willing to donate towards a food aid program of the University that would provide low-income families a bag of fruits and vegetables worth $10.

It was intended to understand what influences decisions people make about giving, researchers formulated different methods that the aid recipients had to contribute to obtaining bags of healthful food.


The study’s participants fell into three groups at random with the following proposals about the recipients’ contribution to the bag of fruits and vegetables:

  1. Recipients get it for free,
  2. Recipients pay $1

III.    Recipients pay $5

This clearly reflected the public’s general viewpoint about the co-pay requirements about the SNAP.

Certain states like Montana and Michigan already necessitate small premium and co-pays from Medicaid recipients. Other states are also considering phasing in this cost-sharing move in all safety net programs including SNAP. But in Arkansas and Kentucky, the judiciary has blocked the move of the Administration for the time being.

It was observed that donating any amount for the food aid program, the most support for option in which recipients must pay $1, and less support for the free program or the program in which recipients have to pay $5.

The findings led the researchers to conclude that the majority of people prefer small contribution compulsions rather than big ones or there being none at all. Simultaneously, the experts determined that a greater portion of Americans regard bigger demands as too heavy.


Time or money in exchange for help


The other outcome of the study was that when the participating Americans were asked whether they favor making help for low-income people conditional on spending money or working. The portion of them saying they would donate all or some of the money they earned for doing a survey tended to favor small payments more than big payments, and devoting some time to register for food aid rather than none at all.

Should low-income people do something to get help?

Americans surveyed in the study showed preference either having no hurdles for low-income households looking for food aid or making that assistance conditional on spending either a small amount of money or a short length of time to earn it rather than a lot of money or a long time.


On the question of whether having families pay for aid is a good method to identify those who most value nutritious food. About 50 percent agreed with a similar opinion. About half also expressed concerns that poorest household or individuals may not be able to afford to pay.

It can be inferred that common Americans are apparently divided between a preference for helping people out for free and enforcing costs on them.










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