Thirteen Alabama counties, previously exempt from food stamp work requirements, showed an 85 percent decrease in food stamp enrollment after work requirements were reinstated, according to data from the Alabama Department of Human Resources.
As of January 1, 2017, 5,538 able-bodied adults without young children who resided in the 13 counties received food stamps. By May 1, 2017, that number decreased to 831, an 85 percent drop, AL.com reported.
Statewide, 13,663 able-bodied adults without young children to care for enrolled in Alabama’s food stamp program as of January 1, 2017, but that dropped to 7,483 by May 1, 2017.
The state exempted “Greene, Hale, Perry, Dallas, Lowndes, Wilcox, Monroe, Conecuh, Clarke, Washington, Choctaw, Sumter and Barbour” counties from the work requirement due to high unemployment in those areas.
Alabama re-instituted work requirements to receive food stamps after the economic downturn of 2011-2013 for the other 54 counties on January 1, 2016, but gave the 13 exempt counties an extension of a year before work requirements had to be put into place,
Under the new work requirements, able-bodied adults without young children can only receive three months of food stamps over three years unless they had a job or were participating in a government-approved job training program.
“Based on the trend, the number of (able-bodied adults without dependents) recipients for SNAP benefits is expected to continue to decline statewide and in the formerly 13 exempted counties,” Alabama DHR spokesperson John Hardy said.
Food stamp enrollment in the state has been on a downward trend. The number of able-bodied adults on the food stamp rolls decreased by 35,000 since January 1, 2016.
The downward trend in food stamp enrollment is not limited to Alabama.
Georgia also recently implemented work requirements for its food stamp program, causing a 62 percent drop in food stamp enrollment since January 2016.
Although there are currently no work requirements to receive food stamps nationwide, the Trump administration is looking into implementing them at the federal level.
Nationwide, 42,906,253 Americans are enrolled in the food stamp program as of fiscal year (FY) 2017, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics. The number is a 2.9 percent decrease from FY 2016 when 44,219,363 Americans received food stamps.