KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A deal has been reached over the debt ceiling, which includes an expansion of work requirements for people receiving benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The deal, agreed to by lawmakers, increases the age requirement for people without dependents using SNAP from 18-49 to 18-54.
On Twitter, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said welfare reform "lifts people out of poverty and into a job."
Kansas City resident Douglesha Nicholson — who also serves as a leader to Stand Up KC, a local group advocating higher wages for fast food and retail workers — does not necessarily agree.
“The issue isn’t working," Nicholson said. "What the issue is, we’re not being paid enough to survive."
Nicholson has received SNAP benefits since she was 18. The mother of six said the biggest issues she has dealt with include low pay, hours and unexpected life issues.
"Children get sick, you get sick," Nicholson said. "It’s like, how am I going to make up for those days that I missed?"
Although Nicholson works, she said issues such as inflation worsen the situation.
“It’s like a constant struggle. Every day it’s like the food prices go up," she said. "The cost of living goes up, so it’s like, now what? Even if you have the proper budget in play, it’s still not enough.”
In Washington, D.C., lawmakers are expected to negotiate over the debt ceiling in two years. Nicholson hopes they consider people like her.
“We all have a right to live to survive," she said. "Here in the richest nation in the world, are we supposed to deny our children food on the table because we aren't able to work?”