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BATON ROUGE - Effective October 1, those who are considered able-bodied adults without dependents must meet a minimum work requirement to qualify for SNAP benefits. They will be required to work no less than 20 hours per week or be enrolled in a federally-approved job training program. If an able-bodied adult without dependents does not meet the mandated requirement, they will only receive benefits for 3 months out of a 36-month period.
This change comes as the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) allows a federal waiver to expire effective October 1, 2015. The waiver currently allows adults, ages 18 to 49, who are capable of working but who are not employed and who do not have dependent children to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits without an imposed time limit.
"We continue to seek opportunities for SNAP recipients to increase their self-sufficiency," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. "Engaging in work activities is a key step in that transition. We are striving to reduce reliance on public benefits, increase the number of clients participating in education or workforce activities and connect Louisiana employers with ready and willing to work job candidates."
The federal SNAP work requirement was initially implemented as part of the 1996 welfare reform package. States have individually been permitted to continue using the waiver if certain US Department of Labor criteria are met, such as high unemployment rates.
Currently, there are approximately 62,000 able-bodied adults without dependents in Louisiana. These individuals will have three months to find employment or enroll in a Louisiana Workforce Commission WIOA work training program to continue receiving their food assistance.
DCFS is partnering with the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) so that able-bodied adults without dependents can utilize LWC's tools and available resources to connect them with jobs and skills training.
"One of the LWC's goals is to grow our workforce with well-trained people to keep pace with the growth in jobs that so much of our state is experiencing," said Curt Eysink, executive director of the LWC. "Our partnership with DCFS is an important step in connecting more people who want to work and be financially independent with training opportunities that will prepare them for great careers and a lifetime of opportunity."
Able-bodied adults without dependents received a letter from DCFS notifying them of these requirements. Those who have not received this information should call DCFS at 1-888-LA-HELPU (1-888-524-3578).
SNAP is administered in Louisiana by DCFS and overseen by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Read more about recipients' rights.
**For clarification, work requirement may include volunteer hours as stated in policy.