Report: Loophole has Americans paying extra $6 billion per year for food stamps
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS) —
Americans could be paying billions of dollars a year more than they need to for food stamps.
That's according to a new report from the Foundation for Government Accountability.
Typically, if you're an able-bodied adult with no children you need to be actively looking for work to qualify for food stamps.
Approved states can waive that work requirement.
Here in Illinois, the Department of Human Services said the waiver allows 174,000 people who are classified as able-bodied childless adults to remain eligible for the program.
Jonathan Ingram, the vice president of research at the Foundation for Government Accountability, said that waiver is not fair to taxpayers.
“Not only are we paying for the benefits for these able-bodied childless adults on food stamps, we're also paying for those benefits on Medicaid and other state welfare programs,” said Ingram.
DHS said they provide these waivers because many of those people have conditions that make getting employment difficult, including mental illness and substance use disorders.
"Work requirements were signed into law by President Clinton in 1996,” Ingram said. “How long is it going to take the department to figure out how to implement a law that's been on the books for 20 years?"
DHS said they'll be using the one year waiver time period to conduct various pilots and fully prepare to transition to a time where they don't apply for the federal waiver.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 36 states and U.S. territories are currently using a waiver.