Assessing Changes to SNAP Work Requirements in the 2018 Farm Bill

Research Report

Assessing Changes to SNAP Work Requirements in the 2018 Farm Bill

Proposal as Passed by the House Committee on Agriculture


We examine proposed legislation from the House Committee on Agriculture to reauthorize the Farm Bill, which significantly expands and intensifies work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) and implements significant penalties if an individual or a household is not in compliance.  Using the Urban Institute’s newly developed ATTIS (Analysis of Taxes, Transfers and Income Security) microsimulation model based on the American Community Survey (ACS) to assess how many individuals and households would likely be affected by the House Committee’s proposal at the national level as well as in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, we find 7.9 million SNAP participants in an average month in 2018 would be subject to new requirements proposed by the bill. Among this group, 5.2 million or 66 percent would not meet the proposed work requirement based on their current work patterns, although some might receive an exemption or live in an area where the requirements are waived. We also find that over a course of a year, 9.8 million SNAP participants would be subject to, but would not meet, work requirements for at least one month in 2018, but 52 percent of this group would meet the work requirements in at least one other month in the year.

For more information about our methodology, please refer to our related publication, Methods for Estimating SNAP Policy Impacts with an ACS-Based Simulation Model.


This brief was updated on May 16, 2018. The full name of the ATTIS model was corrected to “Analysis of Transfers, Taxes, and Income Security”; typos were corrected on pages 3, 6, 8, 9, and 15; and tables 1 through 3 were amended to clarify that only some columns are monthly estimates. The state examples in the infographic were amended to clarify that the given shares of SNAP participants are among those who would be subject to work requirements and not among all SNAP participants.

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