How does the new rule work?

SNAP already has time limits that require states to limit food assistance to three months out of every three years for most working-age adults without minor children, unless they can document 20 hours of work per week.

However, states can waive these restrictions during times of high unemployment, so that more people can receive help when the local economy is struggling. 33 states and Washington, D.C., currently have waivers in place for certain high unemployment counties, and every state except Delaware has needed to use a waiver at some point since 1996 to help their residents put food on the table when they fall on hard times.

This new rule from the Trump administration would sharply curtail states’ ability to use those waivers. That means, no matter what the job market looks like, struggling workers would lose food assistance if they’re unable to consistently log 20 hours of work a week.