Work requirements

Work requirements

Many income and work support programs include a component aimed to increase the employment and earnings of participants. For example, in the most recent year, states reported spending $557 million of TANF and related state spending on employment and training programs.

CLASP advocates for high-quality employment programs for recipients of work support programs, informed by understanding of both the labor market and the circumstances of recipients, and provides technical assistance to states and localities on how to operate such programs within the framework of the federal programs. CLASP opposes work requirements with harsh sanctions that act as a barrier to access to benefits.

Recently renewed efforts to impose work requirements to receive public benefits reflect a profound misunderstanding of the realities of low-wage jobs. Strong evidence shows that work requirements frequently lead to a loss of benefits, which only makes it harder to work. Further, there is little evidence that work requirements increase employment outcomes or reduce poverty. Finally, work requirements create an unnecessary burden for workers and state governments.

Click here for an overview of CLASP's work in this area.


This Q&A provides information about what counts as work or training activity for ABAWDs facing the time limits on SNAP receipt.

Sep 16, 2015 | Report/Brief | CLASP

When combined with low wages and low income, workers with volatile schedules find themselves in need of income support from public benefits programs. However, the scheduling issues driving their need for public benefits often create barriers to access.

In this testimony to the U.S. House of Representativees, Olivia Golden discusses how the safety net supports work for low-income people.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) funds can be used to support a variety of education, training, employment, and related services for SNAP recipients.

Jun 25, 2013 | Report/Brief | CLASP

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment & Training (SNAP E&T) initiative provides federal funding to states, in the form of grants, to help SNAP participants obtain jobs that will reduce their need for SNAP assistance. However, as this brief explains, major investments in SNAP are needed to ensure recipients don't go hungry and, when they're capable of working, can access employment and training opportunities.

Elizabeth Lower-Basch submitted this testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives explaining why the TANF work participation rate doesn't actually promote employment.

Pages