Louisiana residents who apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or food stamps, are now required to meet a minimum work requirement, according to new state guidelines issued Thursday, October 1.
In a press release, Louisiana’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) explained that the work requirement is the result of the state allowing a federal employment waiver to expire. The waiver, introduced as part of the 1996 welfare reform package, allows adults 18 to 49 without dependents to receive benefits indefinitely, even if they are capable of working but are not employed.
The requirement, which now applies to all able-bodied SNAP recipients without dependents, stipulates that food stamps will only be available to those who work no less than 20 hours a week, or are enrolled in a federally-approved job training program. If a SNAP recipient does not meet the new requirement, “they will only receive benefits for 3 months out of a 36-month period,” DCFS announced.
An estimated 62,000 able-bodied, dependent-less adults in Louisiana will now have three months to find employment or enroll in an acceptable training program.