Proposed SNAP Cuts Particularly Harmful to Black, Hispanic Youth & Young Adults

January 29, 2014

In a typical month in 2011, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamps Program) served 4.3 million low-income young adults ages 18-24, helping them buy needed groceries. These young adults would be particularly affected by the cuts proposed to SNAP in the House-passed Farm bill (H.R. 3102), which is now being considered by a conference committee.

Young adults have struggled to get a toehold in the workforce since the Great Recession -- the share of the population employed for 20-24 year-olds remains more than 6 percentage points below pre-recession levels. The proposed SNAP cuts would be particularly harmful for African American and Hispanic youth, who face even higher unemployment rates than white youth.

Overall, H.R. 3102 is projected to cut spending on SNAP and related programs by $39 billion over ten years and deny benefits to 3.8 million individuals in 2014. One provision of the House bill would remove state flexibility to waive the three-month time limits on SNAP receipt by unemployed working-age adults without children in specific areas with high unemployment rates. If this policy had been in effect in the most recent year for which data are available, 1.2 million young adults aged 18-24 would have been at risk of losing SNAP benefits because they lived in households without children, did not have an identified disability, and were employed less than 20 hours per week.

Another provision would allow states to impose TANF-like work requirements on SNAP recipients, including parents of infants and young children, and could deny benefits to entire families if the parents did not participate. States that take up this option could keep half the savings resulting from decreased SNAP payments, creating an incentive for states to push people out of the program. In 2011, 2.7 million young adults were part of SNAP households that included minor children.

Even though SNAP is not usually considered a “youth program,” it provides crucial resources to low-income young adults who are struggling to make ends meet, helping ensure they have access to adequate food and nutrition.

Learn more about how many young people will be affected in your state from CLASP in the link below (PDF).