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Data doesn't support Jindal food stamp claim

1 year 1 week 4 days ago January 07, 2016 Jan 7, 2016 Thursday, January 07 2016 January 07, 2016 3:53 PM in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Governor Bobby Jindal claimed the threat of kicking people off food stamps spurred them into the job market, but data released Thursday shows that's not exactly accurate.

In October the Jindal administration announced 61,000 able-bodied adults had 3 months to find work or lose food stamps. By December, it was revealed half of them would keep their benefits.

Jindal claimed victory. "Half the people that would have been impacted for this have already qualified," he said.

However, state data released Thursday upon request by WBRZ showed only 6,509 people qualified because they met work requirements. A lawyer for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services said the remaining 24,500 people likely qualified for many other reasons like having children or taking care of elderly dependents.

Of the 6,509 people who did meet the work requirements, it's not known if the threat of losing food stamps spurred them into the job market, or if they simply informed DCFS they had already met the requirement when the agency informed them they were in danger of being cut off.

Louisiana is eligible for a federal waiver that provides food stamp benefits for unemployed able-bodied adults without dependents between the ages of 18-49. The waiver is available because the state's unemployment rate is higher than the national average.

Governor-elect John Bel Edwards has pledged to reinstate the waiver once he takes office on Monday.

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