11K New Jersey Residents Could Soon Lose Food Stamps

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Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced Thursday that he plans to reinstate work requirements putting 11,000 food stamp recipients at risk of losing their benefits.

The federal government has required work or job training to qualify for benefits since 1996. After the recession, many states were granted waivers that allowed them to ignore the requirements. New Jersey will not seek a renewal of its waiver and instead reinstate the requirements. The decision will likely impact about 11,000 state residents, reports The Associated Press.

 The work requirements apply to able-bodied adults without children. A total 44 states as of June have either a waiver or a partial waiver. The job must be at least 20 hours a week and the training must be federally approved.

Recipients can only stay on food stamps for three months at a time with the work requirements in place. New Jersey will be along other states like Louisiana and Wisconsin which also have let their waivers expire. Florida will also be reinstating its work requirements with the turn of the new year, according to the Sun Sentinel.

Christie at the moment is running in the Republican presidential primary. The New Jersey Department of Human Services Commissioner Elizabeth Connolly told The Associated Press that the state will work with the Labor and Workforce Development Department to help those affected find work.

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the program has increased from 17 million participants in 2000 to nearly 47 million in 2014. The improved economy has helped decrease the number of participants in recent years. Since participation hit its peak in December 2012, the number of people receiving benefits has declined by more than 1.5 million, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

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