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New York Counties Ask Feds To Prolong Work-Requirement Waiver For Food Stamps

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New York is asking the federal government to grant 20 counties the right to continue ignoring food stamp work requirements, even as the rest of the state reinstates them, according to reports Monday.

Work requirements have been a critical components to the food stamp program, but many states were granted waivers in response to the 2007 recession. New York will be among 23 states reinstating their requirements because of improved economic conditions, but the state is hoping a group of counties with high unemployment will be granted their own special waiver, New York state officials told Syracuse Media Group.

The reinstatement of work requirements could impact upwards of 46,000 residents. The requirements mean able-bodied adults without children must work at least 20 hours a week or be enrolled in a federally approved jobs training program. The Bronx, Clinton, Delaware, Essex and Franklin are among those counties the state hopes will be granted a waiver.

North Carolina also renewed its waivers for only 23 of its 100 counties.

The city of Syracuse has already been granted a waiver because of significantly low employment numbers. The decision means upwards of 5,100 adults without children can continue collecting food stamps without a job. Ten other cities could also be allowed to ignore the federal requirements if approved.

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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