The number of Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) receiving food stamps zoomed from 1.7 million to 3.9 million between Fiscal Year 2007 and Fiscal Year 2010. In that same period, food stamp recipients in total grew from 26 million to nearly 40 million.
One reason for the catastrophic growth in the number of ABAWDs is Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill, which opened the door for states to waive the work provision required of ABAWDs. That work provision mandated that to continue receiving food stamps, after three months of being unemployed ABAWDs must work or perform some type of work activity 20 hours per week.
Spending on food stamps now totals somewhere around $80 billion, twice what the number was in Fiscal Year 2008. Congress is debating a new farm bill, but it is uncertain whether it will reinstate the work provision required of ABAWDs. Presently, the work waivers foisted on the states by Obama allow ABAWDs to receive food stamps indefinitely–without working or preparing for work. Sans work requirement, there is no guarantee that food stamps are being given to those who truly cannot work.
The proposal offered by the GOP-led House wants a 5% reduction in the cost of food stamps. The Democrat Senate is only willing to cut that cost by 1%.