Georgia cuts thousands from food stamps program over work requirement

Georgia has reportedly removed thousands of people from the federal food stamp program in recent months for failing to meet its work requirement amid a planned crackdown by the Trump administration.

The state removed nearly 8,000 people a month from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) between April and October, compared to less than 400 a month from October 2017 through March of this year, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, which cited data from the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS).

Georgia officials told the newspaper that they are now able to better track who is receiving food stamps and remove ineligible recipients through a new data management system.

“We have more data elements available to us with this system than we have had with any of our other eligibility systems,” Jon Anderson, head of DFCS’s Office of Family Independence told the newspaper. “We are more confident in the system being able to identify ABAWDs [able-bodied adults without dependents] than we were in earlier systems.”

The uptick in removals comes as the Trump administration looks to impose stricter work requirements on SNAP.

A new rule would have forced able-bodied adults without dependents to work in order to be eligible for SNAP. The provision was not in the final version of the farm bill recently passed by Congress, but President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE is considering a new proposal to enforce stricter work requirements.

Under current federal guidelines, able-bodied adults between 18 and 49 years old without children are required to work 20 hours a week in order to receive food stamps. Additionally, nondisabled, working-age adults without dependents can only receive three months of SNAP benefits in a three-year period if they don’t meet the 20-hour work week requirement.

In Georgia, roughly 71 percent of people on food stamps are families with dependent children and only 8 percent are people receiving food stamps with no children.