On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order that will enforce stronger work requirements for those applying for welfare programs, including food stamps and housing assistance programs.
“Part of President Trump’s effort to create a booming American economy includes moving Americans from welfare to work and supporting and encouraging others to support common-sense reforms that restore American prosperity and help them reclaim their independence,” Andrew Bremberg, a policy adviser for Trump, told the Associated Press.
While the specifics of the Executive Order and its implementation are still being parsed, many believe that a minimum number of hours worked per week may now be required for anyone attempting to use government assistance. Unsurprisingly, it’s a controversial idea. Work requirements are often criticized as counterproductive considering those unable to find work cannot receive assistance and are forced deeper into poverty. This is especially difficult for families, as parents providing for kids as well as themselves are often hard pressed to find affordable childcare.
Trump has long criticized government assistance programs for enabling those who aren’t working at the expense of those who are working and earning money. But the numbers tell a more complicated story, especially for poor families. According to the Department of Agriculture, more than half of families who rely on SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (once commonly known as food stamps) have at least one family member working.
This is not the first time the President has made it more difficult for people to get government assistance. In January, Trump’s administration announced that states would be allowed to impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients. Trump has also reportedly explored the idea of creating stricter work requirements for families applying for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which can include childcare assistance, job preparation, and work assistance.