Thousands of able-bodied Georgians lost welfare after failing to meet new work requirement

In January, just under 12,000 able-bodied, childless welfare recipients across Georgia were met with a new work requirement in order to continue receiving state benefits. Now, a report released this week has found that only 4,500 will remain on the program. It amounts to a whopping 62 percent decrease. 

Those affected had been told that they had until April 1 to find a job. In order to continue receiving assistance, a recipient must work at least 20 hours a week. However, the state has also approved a handful of other qualifying programs, including certain workforce or educational training classes and volunteer opportunities in lieu of a job.

The plan to require able-bodied individuals to find employment for food stamps was implemented at the beginning of 2016 in Gwinnett, Hall, and Cobb Counties. After the number of welfare recipients dropped by a staggering 60 percent in those areas, the state expanded the program to include a total of 24 counties across the state. By 2019, officials say they plan for all counties to adopt the requirement. 

According to reports, Georgia 113,000 receiving food stamps in Georgia have been considered to be able-bodied adults without children. In total, the state provides the benefit to 1.7 million.