Bill 594 aims to force unemployed adults to seek workforce training or lose their benefits

Food Stamp recipients could see a change in their benefits if one Louisiana Lawmaker has his way.

Monroe State Representative Jay Morris’ Bill 594 aims to force unemployed adults to seek workforce training or lose their Snap benefits after three months.

“I think in an ideal world people can find a job within three months but depending on your profession, the job market and the economy you may not be able to do that.”

Since 1997 Louisiana has received a waiver from the federal government allowing it to bypass federal work requirements usually enforced on food stamp recipients.

“Each individual situation is different and the reasons why people are not working may not just be physical, may be mental.”

The waiver is available because of the state’s high unemployment rate.

Former Governor Bobby Jindal accepted the waiver during his two terms but declined it just before leaving office.

Governor John Bel Edwards accepted the waiver once he took office.

“It becomes a very disheartening situation for families when you feel that you are dependent on assistance but have no hope for the future.” Said Roseann Avolio.

Without the waiver, the Department of Children and family Services estimates that over 30-thousand people would have lost Snap benefits by January first.

Michelle Calloway says she agrees that everyone should work or seek employment. She says, she agrees that everyone should work or seek employment but putting a time line on the ability to receive assistance isn’t right, especially here in Acadiana.

“We have special circumstances here in the oilfield situation so there are a lot of people who are being laid off, a lot of jobs that are not available anymore and those are special circumstances.”

Food stamp benefits or Snap is federally funded so the state gains no money if the bill passes.

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