Due to new regulations from the United States Department of Agriculture, food stamp benefits will be distributed more stringently beginning in 2016.
Previously, a federal employment waiver allowed states to give SNAP benefits to adults 18 to 49, even if they are capable of working but not employed. However, the waiver only applies to states where the unemployment rate is above 10 percent or lacks sufficient job opportunities.
Now that some states have allowed the waiver to lapse, thousands of Americans without dependents will need to find a minimum of 20 hours of work per week, or else receive only three months of benefits in a three-year period.
In North Carolina’s Piedmont region, residents across 23 counties will now need to find work, or have their benefits drastically reduced.
Terri Fisher, the executive director of the Fairgrove Family Resource Center in Thomasville, told Fox 8 that she expects the new rules to increase demand at the center’s food pantry.
“Imagine what that's going to do to the demand for food,” Fisher said.