62,000 to be kicked off food stamps
BATON ROUGE - 62,000 people in Louisiana have three months to either find work or get kicked off food stamps. The new rule applies to able-bodied adults, ages 18-49, who have no dependents.
The federal government funds the food stamp program and allows Louisiana to give them to able-bodied adults because of the state's higher than average unemployment rate. But Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, the group that administers food stamps for the state, chose to stop receiving money for unemployed able-bodied adults.
DCFS Secretary Susan Sonnier said her goal is to get the 62,000 people into the workforce and make them "self-sufficient."
Jan Moller with the Louisiana Budget Project called the decision "mean spirited." He said there's not enough jobs in certain parts of the state where food stamps are most needed.
DCFS had the option to get money for just the poor regions of the state but chose not to do that. The average able-bodied individual receives $190 a month in food stamps according to DCFS.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission will help individuals who lose their food stamps find work or get job training.
LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink said some people will need to move to find jobs. "Everybody does better if they're working, there's absolutely no downside to people who are working," he said.
To keep getting food stamps individuals will need to work or volunteer for 20 hours a week, or be enrolled in a job training program.
Starting Thursday unemployed able-bodied individuals with no dependents are only eligible for food stamps for three months over a three-year period.