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31,000 could wait two weeks for food stamps

1 year 2 months 4 weeks ago December 30, 2015 Dec 30, 2015 Wednesday, December 30 2015 December 30, 2015 9:01 AM in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Some food stamp recipients in Louisiana could lose their benefits for a couple of weeks in January.

Benefits for an estimated 31,000 people are set to expire Thursday. Governor-Elect John Bel Edwards has said he'll reinstate the benefits but he can't do it until he takes office.

"So typically January 6th is when recipients would begin getting their electronic assistance," said Edwards spokesperson Julie Payer. "Edwards only takes office January 11th. So that's when we can make our official request for the waiver."

The "waiver" Payer speaks of is funding for food stamps from the federal government. It's specifically for able-bodied adults without dependents, ages 18-49. Louisiana has received some form of this waiver for the past 19 years.

All funding for food stamps comes from the feds, but Louisiana is eligible for the additional funding because its unemployment rate is higher than the national average.

In October, Governor Jindal's administration announced it would stop accepting the waiver. Without it, able-bodied adults are required to work, train, or volunteer 20 hours a week to keep getting benefits.

The 31,000 recipients get an average of $6 a day for food. They're only a fraction of the estimated 850,000 Louisianians receiving food stamps.

Governor Jindal said Tuesday work requirements spurred recipients into the job market. News Two has requested data from the state agency that oversees food stamps to verify that claim, but that request has yet to be fulfilled.

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