Debt Ceiling Deal Includes New Work Requirements for Food Stamps (2023)

Politics|Debt Ceiling Deal Includes New Work Requirements for Food Stamps


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The agreement will place additional work requirements on older Americans to receive food assistance, but will remove those barriers for veterans and homeless adults.

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Debt Ceiling Deal Includes New Work Requirements for Food Stamps (1)

By Linda Qiu

Reporting from Washington

One of the most contentious issues surrounding talks over raising the debt limit has been whether the Biden administration would agree to stricter work requirements for people seeking food stamps and other safety net assistance.

The deal reached this weekend includes something of a compromise: It increases work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and cash welfare but does not alter requirements for Medicaid. It also expands food stamp access for veterans, homeless people and young adults transitioning out of the foster care system.

Whether that agreement will pass muster with progressive Democrats and conservative Republicans remains to be seen.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy is championing inclusion of work requirements as a win, but more conservative members have criticized the compromise as not going far enough. Representative Chip Roy, Republican of Texas, called the work requirements “weak” while Representative Dan Bishop, Republican of North Carolina, characterized the deal as a “betrayal.”

Biden administration officials have highlighted the expanded access for veterans as a victory. But liberal Democrats and activists for the poor are decrying the changes as onerous and counterproductive, pointing to research showing that existing requirements have little impact on employment.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington, called the work requirement provisions “absolutely terrible policy” on CNN on Sunday, and said she would need to examine the text of the agreement more closely before deciding whether to vote for passage.

Asked on Monday about the concerns raised by Ms. Jayapal and other progressive Democrats, President Biden said he had not “had a chance to speak to her yet” but implored critics to “talk to me.”

It is unclear how the modifications would affect the overall number of food stamp beneficiaries or how much money, if any, it would save the federal government. The White House has said the changes will not significantly alter the number of people subject to requirements, suggesting a muted impact on government spending.

As part of the agreement, so-called able-bodied adults who are 54 and younger and do not have children must work or participate in a training program for at least 80 hours a month to receive food stamps for extended periods of time. Otherwise, they can receive benefits for only three months over a three-year period. Current work requirements apply to adults ages 49 and younger.

The agreement also exempted veterans, homeless people and young adults transitioning from foster care from those work requirements. Under current law, only those unable to work because of a physical or mental disability or pregnancy are exempt.

The debt ceiling deal also requires the Agriculture Department to make public the applications that states submit to waive work requirements for areas with high unemployment, and reduces the share of people a state can exempt to 8 percent of total beneficiaries from 12 percent.

Anti-poverty advocates praised the additional exemptions but lamented the expansion of work restrictions as well as the decision to tie safety net programs to the need to raise the nation’s debt limit.

“Making improvements for some groups is positive, but it doesn’t justify putting harmful requirements that are going to hurt older adults in place, ” said Sharon Parrott, the president of the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“Avoiding a debt limit default will spare the country from an economic catastrophe, but it is simply wrong that the compromise agreement forces older Americans with low incomes to pay such a heavy price,” Eric Mitchell, the executive director of the nonprofit group Alliance to End Hunger, said in a statement. He said the expansion of work requirements “will cause more older Americans to needlessly suffer from hunger and poverty.”

About 42.5 million people received SNAP benefits in February, compared with about 36.9 million in February 2020, the month before the Covid-19 outbreak in the United States. Food stamp recipients receive an estimated $169 in monthly benefits on average, according to the Agriculture Department, which administers the program.

Increasing the age for work requirements will likely reduce the number of beneficiaries. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that more stringent changes proposed in a House Republican bill in April — which would have also increased the age limit to 55 and further restricted state waivers without any new exemptions — would have pushed about 275,000 people off food stamps and reduced benefits for another 19,000 people.

But the new exemptions may also add people to food stamp rolls. A 2021 study from the Urban Institute estimated that adults subject to the work requirements were more likely to be homeless than other SNAP beneficiaries. Waiving work requirements could also increase the number of veterans who use food stamps from the current level of 1.1 million.

The White House has estimated those exemptions would likely offset the increased age, leaving the number of adults subject to the work requirements unchanged.

But Ms. Parrott argued that focusing the net impact of the agreement on SNAP participation ignores the harm the requirements will have on older adults, calling such calculations a “low bar” for lawmakers to clear.

“The reality is that this is hurting a group of people that is very disadvantaged, and it isn’t as though we had to do that in order to do the more positive policies,” she said.

It is also unclear just how much of a budgetary impact these changes will have. The C.B.O. had estimated that the more restrictive changes to food stamps in the House Republican bill would have reduced federal deficits by about $11 billion over a decade. The agreement’s modifications will likely make a smaller dent in deficits.

In addition to changes to food stamps, the debt ceiling deal modifies work requirements for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which provides cash assistance to households with children.

To receive federal funding for the program under current law, states must prove that a certain percentage of adults in families receiving benefits are working, attending work training or participating in other approved “work activities.”

The agreement changes how states calculate those work participation rates and will make it more difficult for states to exempt families from the requirements, said Katherine Hempstead, a senior policy adviser at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic organization. But the agreement also created a small pilot program for states to test alternative models.

“The research is clear on the ineffectiveness of work requirements and the hardships they cause for people that depend on the social safety net,” Ms. Hempstead said, adding that nonetheless, “this agreement avoids some of the worst outcomes.”

Linda Qiu is a fact-check reporter, based in Washington. She came to The Times in 2017 from the fact-checking service PolitiFact. @ylindaqiu

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What are the new work requirements for the debt deal? ›

By 2025, new requirements will apply to able-bodied adults from age 49 to 54 without dependents — an increase of five years. Those individuals will be required to work or attend training programs for at least 80 hours a month if they want to receive more than three months of SNAP benefits within a three-year period.

How does the debt ceiling deal affect food stamps? ›

The debt ceiling agreement, which includes almost all of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) changes from the House-passed debt-ceiling-and-cuts bill, would put almost 750,000 older adults aged 50-54 at risk of losing food assistance through an expansion of the existing, failed SNAP work-reporting ...

Did the Senate pass the debt ceiling? ›

The U.S. Senate passed a debt ceiling bill, addressing the issue just before the country would have defaulted on its debts. Senators voted 63-36 to pass the bill. Both senators Joe Manchin, a Democrat, and Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, voted yes. The bill now goes to President Biden, who has said he will sign it.

What is in the debt ceiling deal? ›

Debt ceiling deal suspends US borrowing limit until 2025, after the next election. This week, US lawmakers will vote on a deal to suspend the nation's borrowing cap until January 2025, meaning debt can grow beyond the ceiling.

Does everyone qualify for debt relief? ›

Frequently Asked Questions. How do I know if I am eligible for debt relief? To be eligible, your annual income must have fallen below $125,000 (for individuals) or $250,000 (for married couples or heads of households).

Can debt collector find my new job? ›

The Law on Collector Contact With Your Employer

This means that debt collectors can contact your employer to confirm your employment. They might get your employer's contact information from your credit report, the original creditor, or from another third party.

How much do you get for one person on snap? ›

Calculating Benefit Amounts Link to this section
SNAP Benefits by Household Size Link to this section
7 more rows
Mar 3, 2023

Do you have to pay back cash assistance in NY? ›

Unless you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you may be required to pay back some or all the Emergency Assistance in the future. HRA will let you know if you need to pay it back.

What is the primary purpose of the debt ceiling quizlet? ›

The legal limit set by Congress on the total amount that the U.S. Treasury can borrow. If the level of federal debt hits the debt ceiling, the government cannot legally borrow additional funds until Congress raises the debt ceiling.

What does the Senate passes debt ceiling bill mean? ›

The legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 63-36, ensuring the federal government will not run out of money to pay its bills on Monday. It now goes to President Biden, who will address the nation on Friday. June 1, 2023.

What is the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023? ›

Public Law No: 118-5 (06/03/2023) This act increases the federal debt limit, establishes new discretionary spending limits, rescinds unobligated funds, expands work requirements for federal programs, and modifies other requirements related to the federal budget process.

Which senators voted for the debt ceiling bill? ›

Voted Yea
  • Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. Ad Feedback.
  • Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado.
  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.
  • Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey.
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
  • Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington.
  • Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland.
  • Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware.
Jun 2, 2023

Has the House passed the debt ceiling bill? ›

The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed legislation negotiated by President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy to suspend the debt ceiling and set federal spending limits, as a broad bipartisan coalition lined up to cast a critical vote to pull the nation back from the brink of economic catastrophe.

How much is the US debt in 2023? ›

The Treasury Department reached its debt ceiling of $31.4 trillion in January 2023, and after months of debate, lawmakers voted in June of that year to suspend the ceiling until January 2025.

Who does the U.S. owe money to? ›

In total, other territories hold about $7.4 trillion in U.S. debt. Japan owns the most at $1.1 trillion, followed by China, with $859 billion, and the United Kingdom at $668 billion.

How do I know if I qualify for debt forgiveness? ›

To be eligible for forgiveness, you must have federal student loans and earn less than $125,000 annually (or $250,000 per household). Borrowers who meet that criteria can get up to $10,000 in debt cancellation.

What is the only debt that Cannot be forgiven? ›

Key Takeaways. Types of debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy include alimony, child support, and certain unpaid taxes. Other types of debt that cannot be alleviated in bankruptcy include debts for willful and malicious injury to another person or property.

How many people are eligible for debt relief? ›

StateNumber of people who applied or were deemed automatically eligible for reliefNumber of fully-approved applications sent to loan servicers for discharge
51 more rows
Jan 27, 2023

What is the 11 word phrase to stop debt collectors? ›

Use this 11-word phrase to stop debt collectors: “Please cease and desist all calls and contact with me immediately.” You can use this phrase over the phone, in an email or letter, or both.

Can you be denied a job because of debt? ›

In the majority of states, employers can deny you employment if you have bad credit. Some states and cities have passed laws that prohibit the practice, though there are some exceptions, such as for jobs in the financial sector.

How did debt collectors find out where you work? ›

The original creditor provides the collection agency with the information on your credit application. If you've moved, someone listed on the application (employer, bank, credit references, or nearest living relative) might know where you are.

What is the highest income to qualify for SNAP? ›

Your net income is your gross income minus any allowable deductions. And assets are "countable resources" like cash, money in a bank account, and certain vehicles. For fiscal year 2023 (Oct. 1, 2022 – Sept. 30, 2023), a two-member household with a net monthly income of $1,526 (100% of poverty) might qualify for SNAP.

What is the highest income for food stamps if disabled? ›

What are the SNAP income limits for disabled individuals in 2023?
  • Your net monthly income must be equal to or below 100% of the federal poverty line.
  • Your countable assets must amount to $4,250 or less.

How much savings can you have on SNAP? ›

What resources can I have and still get SNAP benefits? Currently, households may have $2,750 in countable resources (such as cash or money in a bank account) or $4,250 in countable resources if at least one member of the household is age 60 or older, or is disabled. These amounts are updated annually.

What is the $420 food benefit card NYC? ›

P-EBT Card Information

Every family with children in the NYC public schools will be sent a $420 food stipend per child — many families have already received these in the mail — this is a program to help buy food, especially for families for whom school breakfasts and lunches were essential.

Does NY SNAP check your bank account? ›

When applying for food stamps, you will be required to submit proof of your monthly income and liquid assets, but the agency you apply through will not look directly into your bank accounts to verify.

How much is cash assistance in NY for 1 person? ›

Generally, the maximum benefit level is the standard of need in a county, which varies. For example, in Albany County, the maximum benefit level (or standard of need) is $367 per month for a single individual, or $698 per month for a household of three with children.

What are the benefits of debt ceiling? ›

It simply allows the government to finance existing legal obligations that Congresses and presidents of both parties have made in the past. Failing to increase the debt limit would have catastrophic economic consequences.

What was the original purpose of the debt ceiling? ›

Early history

In 1917, during World War I, Congress created the debt ceiling with the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917, which allowed the Treasury to issue bonds and take on other debt without specific Congressional approval, as long as the total debt fell under the statutory debt ceiling.

When did the debt ceiling start? ›

The most recent time that the debt ceiling was raised was on June 3, 2023, when U.S. president Joe Biden signed the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 into law ending the 2023 United States debt-ceiling crisis that began on January 19, 2023. The debt limit extends into 2025.

What is the debt ceiling in 2023? ›

In early 2023, the United States once again hit its debt ceiling, which was capped at $31.4 trillion. After months of using “extraordinary measures” to stave off default, lawmakers enacted legislation on June 3, 2023 to suspend the debt limit through January 1, 2025.

How much debt is the US in? ›

The United States has the world's highest national debt at $31.4 trillion. Global debt currently stands at $305 trillion, $45 trillion higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Institute of International Finance (IIF) – a global association of the financial industry.

Do House bills have to pass Senate? ›

In order to pass legislation and send it to the President for his or her signature, both the House and the Senate must pass the same bill by majority vote. If the President vetoes a bill, they may override his veto by passing the bill again in each chamber with at least two-thirds of each body voting in favor.

What are the budget requests for 2023? ›

GAO FY 2023 Request and Priorities

GAO requests $810.3 million for FY 2023, an increase of $91.1 million (12.7 percent) over the enacted FY 2022 level. GAO also requests the use of $61.0 million in offsets and supplemental appropriations.

Has the 2023 fiscal budget passed? ›

The final funding package was passed as an omnibus spending bill, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023.

What is the congressional budget request for fy 2023? ›

The President's FY 2023 budget, which includes $60.4 billion for the Department of State and USAID, will make it possible for us to continue to lead the world in tackling global challenges and upholding the international system that the United States did so much to build.

How many Republicans are in the Senate? ›

Party affiliation
Republican Party49
Democratic Party48

Do all senators vote on bills? ›

The Senate votes on bills, resolutions, motions, amendments, nominations, and treaties in a variety of ways. If one-fifth of a quorum of senators request it, the Senate will take a roll-call vote.

Do senators support bills? ›

A bill to create a new law can be introduced in either chamber of Congress by a senator or representative who sponsors it.

Where does the US borrow money from? ›

The federal government borrows money from the public by issuing securities—bills, notes, and bonds—through the Treasury. Treasury securities are attractive to investors because they are: Backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. Offered in a wide range of maturities.

Did the Senate pass the debt bill? ›

After weeks of political impasse, tense negotiations and mounting economic anxiety, the Senate gave final approval on Thursday night to bipartisan legislation suspending the debt limit and imposing new spending caps, sending it to President Biden and ending the possibility of a calamitous government default.

What is the debt deal reached? ›

Lifting the debt ceiling.

The deal reached by President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy will suspend the nation's debt limit until January 2025. This will allow the government to keep borrowing money so it can pay its bills on time.

Which country is in the most debt? ›

Norway is the country with the highest level of household debt based on OECD data followed by Denmark and the Netherlands.

How high can the US debt go? ›

The debt limit caps the total amount of allowable outstanding U.S. federal debt. The U.S. hit that limit—$31.4 trillion—on January 19, 2023, but the Department of the Treasury has been undertaking a set of “extraordinary measures” so that the debt limit does not yet bind.

How much will the US debt be in 10 years? ›

WASHINGTON — The United States is on track to add nearly $19 trillion to its national debt over the next decade, $3 trillion more than previously forecast, the result of rising costs for interest payments, veterans' health care, retiree benefits and the military, the Congressional Budget Office said on Wednesday.

Which country has no debt? ›

The 20 countries with the lowest national debt in 2022 in relation to gross domestic product (GDP)
CharacteristicNational debt in relation to GDP
Macao SAR0%
Brunei Darussalam2.06%
Hong Kong SAR4.26%
9 more rows
May 11, 2023

Does China owe money? ›

China's national debt has been growing due to a combination of factors, including government spending on development projects and slowing economic growth.

Is China in more debt than the US? ›

As recently as 2020, total debt in the United States relative to GDP exceeded China's. But as of mid-2022, China's relative debt burden stood 40 percent higher than America's.

What is the new debt Act? ›

Lifting the debt ceiling.

The deal reached by President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy will suspend the nation's debt limit until January 2025. This will allow the government to keep borrowing money so it can pay its bills on time.

Who gets the debt relief program? ›

To qualify for National Debt Relief's settlement program, there are a few factors at play. You must owe more than $7,500 in debt and be at least several months behind on payments. You must also be able to make monthly payments to National Debt Relief at an agreed-upon rate.

What is the requirement for debt to income? ›

What Is a Good Debt-to-Income Ratio? As a general guideline, 43% is the highest DTI ratio a borrower can have and still get qualified for a mortgage. Ideally, lenders prefer a debt-to-income ratio lower than 36%, with no more than 28% of that debt going towards servicing a mortgage or rent payment.

What is debt covenant requirements? ›

Debt covenants are restrictions that lenders (creditors, debt holders, investors) put on lending agreements to limit the actions of the borrower (debtor). In other words, debt covenants are agreements between a company and its lenders that the company will operate within certain rules set by the lenders.

What happens if we reach the debt ceiling? ›

Potential repercussions of reaching the ceiling include a downgrade by credit rating agencies, increased borrowing costs for businesses and homeowners alike, and a dropoff in consumer confidence that could shock the United States' financial market and tip its economy—and the world's—into immediate recession.

What is the meaning of debt ceiling? ›

What Is the Debt Ceiling? The debt ceiling is the maximum amount of money that the United States can borrow cumulatively by issuing bonds. The debt ceiling was created under the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917 and is also known as the debt limit or statutory debt limit.

Is the debt relief program real? ›

National Debt Relief is a debt settlement company that negotiates on behalf of consumers to lower their debt amounts with creditors. Consumers who complete its debt settlement program reduce their enrolled debt by an average of 23% after its fees, according to the company.

How much is the debt relief program? ›

How much does a debt relief program cost? Up to 25% of the debt enrolled, depending on the firm, your state, and your debt. Learn more about the costs involved and alternatives to debt relief programs.

How is debt relief done? ›

Debt relief refers to measures to reduce or refinance debt in order to make it easier for the borrower to repay it. Options for debt relief include forgiving a portion of the debt, lowering the interest rate, stretching payments over a longer period, or consolidating multiple debts into a single, lower-interest one.

Does debt settlement hurt your credit? ›

Can debt settlement hurt your credit? Because creditors report debt settlement to the credit bureaus, it can indeed have a negative impact on your credit score and can stay on your credit report for years to come.


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