Thanks to a new rule passed last week by the Trump Administration, over 120,000 Georgia food stamp recipients are at-risk to lose their food stamp benefits. If you are an able-bodied adult without children, you may be effected by the cuts made to Georgia Food Stamp benefits. In fact, nearly 700,000 Americans are at risk of losing their food stamp benefits.
In this article, we will break down everything you need to know about the changes coming to the Georgia Food Stamps Program, including:
- Who is at risk for losing Benefits
- How the new Food Stamps rule effects Georgia SNAP
- How to meet the Georgia SNAP Work Requirement
- Georgia ABAWD Work Training Programs
- ABAWD excused from the Work Requirement
- When the Food Stamp changes go into Affect
- Future cuts to Food Stamp Benefits in 2020
To find out if you are one of the thousands that could lose their food stamp benefits in Georgia, continue reading below.
Cuts to Georgia Food Stamp Benefits
This isn’t the first time that Georgians have experienced food stamp cuts from the Trump Administration. In fact, it was just last year when the new work requirement tracking system rolled out that caused thousands of Georgia SNAP recipients to lose their benefits.
Well, here we go again. This time, they are cracking down even harder on the work requirements for food stamp recipients. Specifically, anyone that’s considered a ABAWD.
What is a ABAWD?
An ABAWD stands for “able-bodied adult without dependents.” Basically, this means any working-age adult receiving food stamps that is able to work, and does not have disabilities, children, or is considered a parental guardian/caregiver.
What is the new Food Stamps rule?
The new rule proposed in February requires able-bodied adults without children or dependents to meet SNAP work requirements – despite their situation. This rule makes very difficult for states to waive the current work requirements for ABAWD’s that live in low-economic areas, job-scarce areas.
Who is at risk for losing Benefits
Any food stamp recipient that is an able-bodied adult, not working, and does not have children or dependents, is at risk of losing their benefits. To keep benefits, those at-risk food stamp recipients must the SNAP work requirements set by the USDA.
This new work requirement can be extremely difficult for those adults that live in a low-economic and job scarce areas, have transportation issues, or are homeless. According to economic experts, often times low-wage workers have trouble meeting required work hours and a steady job.
How the new Food Stamps Rule Effects Georgia SNAP
Currently, states have the ability to pass a waiver that extends the work requirement time period for able-bodied adults without dependents. Typically, a state would grant a waiver to extend the time period one (1) year for those recipients that live in areas that lack sufficient jobs or have high unemployment rates. The new rule will make it much more difficult for states to do that.
Presently, the food stamps program does not allow unemployed able-bodied adults without children to receive benefits for more than three (3) months during a 36-month period. To continue to receive benefits, able-bodied adults are required to work or participate in a work training program.
Current Georgia SNAP Work Requirements
Currently, Georgia food stamp recipients from age 16-59 must meet work requirements in order to remain eligible for benefits. If Georgia SNAP recipients do not meet work requirements for more than 3 months in a 3-year time period, then they will no longer be eligible to receive benefits.
The work requirements for Georgia Food Stamps require any able-bodied adult to either:
- Have a job working full or part-time
- Volunteering or working an un-paid position
- Participating in a SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) Program
- Involved in a USDA workfare program
Georgia ABAWDs must meet one of the work requirements listed above for at least 20 hours per week.
How to meet the Georgia Food Stamps Work Requirement
If you are receiving Georgia food stamps and are considered a ABAWD, there are multiple ways you can meet the work requirements. You can stay eligible for benefits and meet the work requirement by doing any of these:
- Working a minimum of 80 hours per month (20 hours per week). You can work in exchange for pay, goods, services, or as a volunteer.
- Participating in a work training program a minimum of 80 hours per month (20 hours per week). An eligible work program could be the SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) Program.
- Actively participating in a workfare program for the number of hours assigned to you each month (hours vary based on benefit amount).
- Participating in a combination of any federal, state or local USDA work programs for a minimum of 80 hours per month (20 hours per week).
Georgia ABAWD Work Training Programs Near You
If you need help finding an eligible Georgia Employment Training or Job Center near you, visit the American Job Center Finder. They can help you locate jobs, training, and answer any employment questions you may have.
The American Job Center is operated by the Department of Labor. They can provide assistance to ABAWD recipients at-risk for losing their Georgia food stamp benefits.
ABAWD excused from the SNAP Work Requirement
As an ABAWD, there are a number of situations that excuse you from meeting the Georgia SNAP work requirement. You do not have to meet the work requirement for food stamps if you are:
- Working at least 30 hours per week and earning a pay at least equal to the Federal minimum wage multiplied by 30 hours
- Meeting work requirements for another Georgia assistance program such an TANF, WIC, or Unemployment
- Taking care of a child under the age of 6 or an incapacitated person
- Unable to work due to a physical or mental condition
- Actively participating in a drug or alcohol treatment program
- Studying in school or a work training program at least part-time
Who the new Food Stamps Rule Doesn’t Affect
The new food stamps rule does not put stricter work requirements on all Georgia Food Stamp recipients. Those food stamp recipients not effected by the changes to the program include:
- Households with at least one child under age 18
- Pregnant or expectant women
- Individuals with a disability or is considered disabled
- Anyone that is over the age of 60
- Anyone that has a “mental limitation”
When do the Food Stamp changes go into affect?
The new Food Stamps rule will go into effect on April 1, 2020. With the new rule, the state will only be able to grant waivers to recipients that live in an area that has a 24-month average unemployment rate at least 20 percent above and national rate, plus at least 6 percent unemployment for that area.
This new change to the state waivers and their focus on the unemployment rate is very misleading. The unemployment rate is a measure of the entire U.S. labor market and not those who are poor and facing a crisis. In most cases, these are the individuals that lack transportation and/or live in a low-economic area.
Future cuts to Food Stamp Benefits in 2020
The new Food Stamps rule passed last week is only one of three proposed changes to the Food Stamps Program. When all three rules are approved before the next presidential election, millions will be cut from SNAP benefits.
One rule will “close a loophole” that allows Americans with an income up to 200% of the poverty level to receive benefits. That would prevent a family of four with a yearly household income of $50,000 from receiving benefits.
This same rule would also cut food stamps from households with more than $2,250 in assets. ($3,500 for a household with a disabled adult). The proposed rule would cut nearly three million at-risk recipients from their benefits. It would also cut one million children from their free or reduced-cost school lunches.
The second rule would affect 1 in 5 households on food stamps and cut $4.5 billion over five years. With that said, the new proposed rules clearly do not consider or account for individual struggles or situations.
Georgia Food Stamp Cuts Summary
We hope this article on the recent changes to the Georgia Food Stamps Program was helpful to you. If you have more questions about the cuts made to Georgia food stamps or the changes made to SNAP work requirements, please let us know in the comments section below.
Be sure to stay up-to-date on all the breaking Georgia food stamps news at our blog.