In The Politics of Autism, I discuss health care issues and social services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The proposed Farm Bill would force SNAP recipients to fill out an onslaught of paperworkin order to track and report their work-related activity from month to month. Currently, most states request paperwork along these lines every six months. For individuals who fail to properly submit this monthly documentation, sanctions under the draft Farm Bill are particularly punitive: They may lose SNAP benefits for 12 to 36 months. That is up to three years without food assistance for just two paperwork-related errors, such as failure to document all of one’s hours worked in a given month—which could be in multiple jobs—or a failure to submit the documentation on time.
While this paperwork would be labor-intensive for any participant, it may be especially difficult to navigate for people with certain intellectual and developmental disabilities or mental health conditions. People with disabilities are also at risk for a years-long lockout simply because they did not understand that they were eligible for an exemption; were ineligible for an exemption under SNAP’s very narrow definition of disability; or were unable to provide the necessary documentation—such as physician testimony or medical records—to prove that they qualified for an exemption. This last hurdle is especially problematic for those who lack health insurance or live in one of the 18 states that have not yet expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Disabled workers are also more likely to be self-employed than nondisabled workers, and documentation of self-employment is particularly burdensome.