6,000 Lose Food Stamps in Cobb, Gwinnett, Hall Counties
(APN) ATLANTA — In Georgia, approximately six thousand Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWDs) in Cobb, Gwinnett, and Hall counties will lose SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) food assistance this year.
“We have done extensive outreach to those affected, starting in October 2015, and have many resources to offer to those who choose to participate,” Mary Beth Lukich, Office of Communication, Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), said.
An ABAWD is a person between the ages of eighteen and 49 who has no dependents and is not physically or mentally disabled.
It is estimated that between one-half million to one million people will lose SNAP with the reinstatement of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), commonly known as the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 22, 1996.
It drastically cut assistance to welfare recipients and established new work requirements for ABAWDs for food stamps.
Then, in the midst of the 2008 Great Recession, states gained the ability to provide a waiver to the SNAP work requirements
Now that unemployment is down in some areas and the economy is improving some states and counties are beginning to reinstated the harsh 1996 restrictions on the SNAP program.
U.S. states can ask the Federal Government to temporarily waive the time limit based on evidence that there is a high unemployment rate or not enough jobs to go around. The waivers are good for one year.
So far, twenty-two states have reinstated the harsh 1996 requirements for ABAWDs.
As unemployment rates fall, fewer areas are qualifying for statewide waivers, but most states have counties that are eligible for waivers.
In Georgia, 152 counties were waived from the requirements due to unemployment rates.
ABAWD individuals can receive SNAP for only three months in a three-year period if they do not meet certain extra work requirements.
The work requirements are to work at least 20 hours per week, or participate in educational or training programs to be eligible for food assistance.
The average food assistance in Georgia is between 150 to 170 dollars per person per month.