Thursday, February 15, 2018

SNAP Time Limits

As you may know, in 2015 Maine instituted a strict time limit in our SNAP program. After a 3 month period, childless adults age 18-49 must work, volunteer, or take part in job training for at least 20 hours a week in order to qualify for SNAP. Maine had been applying for waivers that exempted people who live areas of high unemployment from this time limit. Starting in early 2015, when the administration decided to no longer apply for these waivers, all people in this group were subject to the 3 month limit. In the subsequent years, Maine’s SNAP rolls have shrunk significantly. In 2015 SNAP served an average of 202,500 people in Maine and as of December 2017, SNAP served just over 178,000 Mainers. At least 9,000 people, but probably many more, lost access to SNAP due to the time limit.

Similar SNAP time limits are now being considered on a nationwide basis, either as part of the Farm Bill process or in an upcoming "welfare reform" effort by Congress. There is a good deal of interest from national media about how the time limits have impacted Mainers. 

Good Shepherd Food Bank is interested to hear from partner agencies who are serving people who lost access to SNAP in recent years. Have you seen your numbers go up as a result of this issue? Have you spoken to patrons who were subject to the time limit or other SNAP restriction? If so, please reach out to Clara McConnell, Director of Public Affairs, at or 782-3554 x1166 to share your experiences.
GSFB Network is a blog for partner agencies of Good Shepherd Food Bank focused on feeding Maine's hungry.