Debt ceiling agreement expected to impact ‘SNAP’ & TANIF programs

Published: May. 28, 2023 at 7:52 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - After weeks of negotiations, a bipartisan debt ceiling agreement has been reached to avoid the closure of the U.S. government; however, the deal may impact those receiving government assistance.

The agreement between Democrat President Joe Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is expected to expand work requirements for some adults receiving food stamps.

“We’re concerned this negotiation will likely sink more individuals, families and children deeper into poverty,” said Cassie Edner, a public benefits attorney with the Virginia Poverty Law Center.

Currently, people without disabilities between 18 and 49 who don’t have children or dependents and can work at least 20 hours a week are eligible for Snap benefits. Specific details haven’t been released on the new requirements, but Edner said it’s possible that not everyone in that age range would be able to follow them.

The agreement is also expected to impact the Temporary Assistance for Need Families (TANIF) program.

“The thing that we are hearing that we are finding most concerning is the TANIF, it looks like those will have the work requirements stricter than they currently are, and they’re currently as they already are.”

The TANIF program helps people pay their bills and buy other necessities that cannot be purchased with Snap or WIC benefits.

“A lot of this can be used for diapers which SNAP and WIC, you can’t purchase diapers with those,” she said.

TANIF focuses on families; therefore, the debt ceiling changes could mean trouble for thousands of children.

“It’s not only affecting children, but it’s also affecting Virginia as a whole, so if Virginia doesn’t meet those requirements, we could lose up to 30 million dollars of TANIF funds.

Not only will the deal affect Spap, Wic And Tanif recipients, but the agreement is also expected to protect veterans’ healthcare, cancel unobligated funds from covid-19 relief and reduce non-defense / discretionary spending to 1%.

“This is significantly less of a decrease than they were initially pushing for, but those funds could also affect the housing assistance payments too,” said Edner.

To learn more about the debt ceiling agreement and what it could mean for you, click here.