Thousands of Georgia residents could soon lose their food stamp benefits due to a new rule that only allows benefits to be collected for three months without work.
Under a new law that, which into effect Jan. 1, able-bodied adults in Cobb, Gwinnett and Hall counties will only be allowed to collect benefits for three months in a three-year period without getting a job or entering a training program.
According to Georgia officials, more than 6,000 residents will be affected by the new rule, though the number could increase if the initiative expands into other counties, as expected.
Anybody receiving food stamps without a job in the three counties affected could lose their food stamp benefits in April, even if they are in an active job search.
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It is expected that food pantry workers and social service providers in Georgia and South Carolina, where a similar initiative is taking place, will begin to see an increase in need come April, WRDW reports. Many of the people who will potentially be affected by the new rule will likely not find work by the deadline.
John Sebby, spokesman for the Augusta, Georgia Salvation Army told WRDW that the organization is expecting to have to step in after citizens lose benefits because they will have less money for living expenses, such as rent and utilities.
Proponents of the new rule say that it will give benefit recipients an incentive to find employment.
The initiative requires that able-bodied adults must work or be enrolled in an approved training program for a minimum of 20 hours per week. Recipients are also allowed to volunteer at nonprofit organizations and they can combine several actives to meet the minimum requirements.