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Federal Minimum Wage Affects Food Stamp Program

August 1, 2007

Author: Barbara Weiner

The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) recently issued a GIS message to the local districts informing them of the increase in the federal minimum wage and the effect of that increase on the Food Stamp Program.

There are two consequences for food stamp recipients following from the increase in the minimum wage, both related to employment requirements.  The first is that food stamp recipients who are currently exempt from the work rules based on the fact that their earnings equal at least 30 times the federal minimum wage must have their exemption re-examined at the next client contact or recertification.  In order to remain exempt, they must either be working at least 30 hours a week or be receiving weekly earnings of at least 30 times $5.85, or $176.50 a week.  If they no longer meet these thresholds and there is no other basis on which they qualify for a work exemption, they must be notified that they are subject to food stamp employment requirements.

The second consequence, not addressed in the GIS message is connected to the voluntary quit provision.  In those limited situations where the local districts apply the minimum wage equivalence test when determining whether someone has quit a job or voluntarily reduced their hours without good cause, they must use the new figure. 


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