Tens of thousands of Georgians risk losing food aid because of state’s new labor rules • Georgia Recorder

Food aid advocates claim that a Georgia agency’s refusal to apply for federal work exemption is putting thousands of Georgians at risk of losing much-needed monthly food payments.

As of July 1, more than 87,000 adults without children in Georgia must work at least 80 hours per month to receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. The policy change comes after the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services declined to request a temporary waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture of work guidelines that had been suspended since March 2020 during the public health emergency.

The Disabled Adults Without Dependents program requires participants to work at least 20 hours per week, enroll in vocational training, or perform state-recognized volunteer work. Participants who fail to meet these standards for three consecutive months will be ineligible for further food stamps for an additional three years.

Proponents of compulsory work see it as an incentive for adults to put up some equity to earn the benefits that help keep the family fed. But Ife Finch Floyd, director of economic justice at the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, says the state’s Family and Children Services is reversing a longstanding policy while ignoring research that minimizes the motivational effects of mandatory work hours.

Floyd says that since the Great Recession, officially counted as late 2007 through June 2009, Georgia has sought waivers from the federal government that suspended work rules for areas where jobs were difficult to find. Georgians who have jobs with inconsistent schedules and work an average of 70 hours per month would be excluded from the federal program after three months.

“There were certainly many difficult economic conditions across the states during the Great Recession, but even as the overall economy improved, some counties still struggled,” Floyd said.

“What concerns us is that unemployed people, people who are underemployed, are at risk of losing benefits if they have difficulty meeting those work requirements,” she said.

Read the full article by Georgia Law News

Support GBPI Today

The Georgia Budget & Policy Institute is a 501(c)3 organization. We depend on the support of donors like you. Your contribution makes the work that we do possible.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our Newsletter