CWDA Statement on ABAWD SNAP Rule
Trump Administration’s SNAP rule change for “able-bodied adults without dependents” will push those on the verge of losing housing into homelessness and will hurt local economies

Press release

Today, the Trump Administration dealt another blow to Americans struggling in poverty by publishing a rule to take away Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food assistance, known as CalFresh in California, from those they consider “able-bodied adults without dependents” that are either unemployed or underemployed. CWDA strongly opposes this cruel and counterproductive rule, which won’t accomplish what it allegedly seeks, which is to motivate people to be gainfully employed.

Hunger is not a motivator for work; rather, it is an obstacle to overcome. Food assistance through CalFresh allows individuals to focus on becoming employed and stable, allowing them to use their remaining budget to pay rent, utilities, or other necessities. By cutting off benefits, this SNAP rule would harm hundreds of thousands of Californians already struggling to get by. 

“At a time when homelessness is reaching crisis levels, the rule will only push those on the edge of losing their housing into hunger, instability, and ultimately homelessness,” said CWDA deputy executive director, Cathy Senderling-McDonald. “Being hungry and not having a roof over your head make finding employment exponentially more difficult, not less. This rule runs completely counter to its stated intentions.”

The SNAP program generates economic activity, benefiting local economies everywhere – especially in those communities struggling with fewer job opportunities. If the SNAP rule change goes into effect it will hurt grocers, small businesses and local economies.

Finally, the new rules will be complex and costly to administer, a point that CWDA and others made to the Administration and its Office of Management and Budget while the draft rule was in the process of being finalized. Counties believe these funds should be used to help those in need put food on the table, not on bureaucracy and red tape the program doesn’t need.

It’s important that Californians receiving Calfresh benefits understand that this rule will not immediately go into effect. The rule is set to go into effect in April 2020.