ECONOMY

Georgia food stamp recipients lose benefits amid new work requirements

New work requirements in Georgia have caused thousands of people to lose their food stamp benefits.

More than half of food stamp recipients in 21 Georgia counties have been dropped from the program following new work mandates instituted by the state, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

11,779 people without kids and considered capable of working were required to find work by April 1 in order to continue to receive the assistance. But 62 percent were dropped after the deadline, decreasing the number receiving food stamps to 4,528.

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Officials in the state started enforcing the work mandate in 2016 with Cobb, Gwinnett and Hall counties. Recipients there were afforded three months to find a job or a training program or risk having their benefits cuts.

The plan is to grow the work requirements to all 159 counties in the state by 2019. 60 more will be added in 2018.

Approximately 1.6 million Georgia residents currently use food stamps, which are funded via federal dollars and are managed by the Georgia Division of Family and Child Services (DCFS).

A DFCS spokeswoman said that the department has offered to provide assistance with job search and training to affected recipients.

President Donald Trump’s new budget plan recently proposed a $192 billion cut to food stamps in a decade.