Tennessee will reinstate work requirements for food stamp recipients a decade after they were eased during the height of the economic recession, Gov. Bill Haslam announced Monday.
Beginning February 1, 2018, able-bodied adults without dependents in most counties will have to put in at least 20 hours per week on a job, an approved volunteer program or a qualified education or training program in order to get benefits.
The requirements are expected to impact 58,000 of the approximately 1 million Tennesseans currently getting the food buying assistance, according to news release.
The initial waiver of work requirements in 2008 was "necessary at a time when people were hurting from the recession," a news release quoted Haslam said.
"But nearly a decade later, Tennessee is one of the top locations in the Southeast for high quality jobs, and it's now difficult to justify waiving the work requirement for adults without dependent who are able to work," he said.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - the formal name for the food stamp program - gives eligible individuals and families debit cards to spend on groceries.
The work requirements waiver will remain in place in 16 counties designated as economically distressed.