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What do the new SNAP requirements mean for recipients in Georgia?

As of August 2019, there were about 1.3 million people in Georgia on food stamps

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Nearly 700,000 Americans could be pushed from the SNAP program nationwide under new regulations.

The Trump administration is tightening work requirements for food stamp eligibility for able-bodied adults without children.

Cherie Mickey works at Giant Foods in Warner Robins where she said most of their customers use EBT cards. "This is the area where we need it. We need it right here."

Mickey is no stranger to food stamps herself. She was approved back in August. "It was a blessing. It was a godsend. When she told me how much I was gonna get, I said, ‘What? Really?’"

Right now, SNAP limits people to three months of food stamps unless they are working or in training for 20 hours a week.

States can waive those limits if a state or county’s unemployment rate is 20% above the national rate, which was 3.6% in October. 

That currently places the waiver threshold at 4.3%.

The new rule will increase that threshold to 6%, making it harder for some states to qualify.

Mickey said she thinks the new requirements might be a good idea. "There do need to be restrictions on the EBT. There really does, because there are so many people getting it that really don’t need it and it’s not fair to those of us who do need it."

So, what does that mean for Georgia?

As of August 2019, there were about 1.3 million people in Georgia on food stamps.

According to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, about 120,000 people classified as able-bodied adults without dependents in Georgia receive SNAP benefits every month.

So these new requirements could affect about one out of 10 SNAP recipients in the state.

USDA officials say these new requirements could save $5.5 billion over five years.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue tweeted that the USDA is working to restore "the original intent of SNAP: one that provides a safety net for those in need but encourages accountability & self-sufficiency."

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