Over 40,000 Alabamians May Lose Food Stamp Benefits

Around 45,000 Alabamians may get cut off from food stamps this year if they don’t find a job.

A recent change in the rules this year tightens exemptions, and now requires able-bodied adults to work to stay in the program. And for some — the people who say they need it most tell us they’re left hanging.

Times have been difficult for Tim Young and his family and some members have had to turn to food stamps.

“My father sick, and I take care of him every day.  He has cancer,” said Tim Young, Mobile.

Now the big worry is if everyone will be able to find a job after the change.

“Like it’s hard out here, and all we’re doing is trying to make an honest living,” said Young.

Starting January 1st, a federal regulation tightly limits who receives benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. Now exemptions will be further reviewed, and anyone between the ages of 18 and 49 must work at least 20 hours a week, o be enrolled in a school or job training program to continue.  Failure to meet these requirements means getting cut-off or limited to just three months over a three-year period.

And potentially without food stamps, more people will be walking through the doors of food pantries to get help.

“So as people lose their food stamps benefits, they’ll be turning to our food pantries more and more, and how that is going to affect is, we have over 400 agencies that we serve, so if those people are turning to those agencies, those agencies will have needed more food, and so that means the demand will be bigger,” said Stephani Snyder, Feeding the Gulf Coast Marketing Director.

There will still be exceptions for people who are disabled, pregnant, caring for children who are minors, and even those going through rehab, but that still may be rough for Tim Young and his family.

“Like there’s been plenty of nights where we didn’t have anything on our table, and those food stamps really came through.”

The new rule went into effect this month, but people still have two more months to meet the requirements.

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