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House bill eliminating waivers for food stamps in Idaho headed to the Senate

A sign in a New York City market window advertises the acceptance of food stamps.
Spencer Platt
Getty Images
A sign in a New York City market window advertises the acceptance of food stamps.

The Idaho House has passed a bill that would eliminate certain waivers for folks receiving Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program benefits (SNAP), also known as food stamps.

The federal government requires people who receive food stamps to have a job or be enrolled in training, but the state allows exceptions. This bill would get rid of those and require “able-bodied” people to work at least 30 hours.

“They don't have to necessarily work, but they have to be part of the mandatory employment and training program that currently could be optional,” said Rep. Kevin Andrus (R-Lava Hot Springs) who sponsored the bill.

It would also eliminate geographic and “no good cause waivers” granted to people who cannot find jobs locally or have circumstances preventing them from working. These requirements would not apply to students enrolled in school or people with dependents.

House Minority Leader Rep. Ilana Rubel (D-Boise) opposed the bill, saying it could jeopardize federal funding for work training.

“Idaho already has very robust work requirements for food stamps, and I have not seen any evidence that there are people who are currently able to get work and who aren't because they can get free food stamps,” said Rubel. 

On average, food stamp benefits in Idaho amount to $6 a day per person. The bill is now headed to the Senate.

Hi! I am Keneilwe Patience Mabidikama, a senior at The College of Idaho. I am an international student from South Africa. I am an International Political Economy major. A few things that I enjoy are listening to music, reading and playing volleyball. An interest of mine (besides journalism) is self-care.

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