Food stamp recipients in North Carolina’s largest counties who remain out of a job in the new year may see their benefits end as a result of federal rule changes.
Since the recession, the entire state has been exempt from a federal requirement that able-bodied adults without children work or volunteer at least 20 hours a week to receive benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. But on Jan. 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will end that blanket exception, implementing the rule again for 23 North Carolina counties largely based on their recovering unemployment rates. Waivers remain in place for the rest of the state’s counties for now.
Benefits won’t stop immediately if an individual doesn’t meet the work requirement – recipients can receive them for up to 90 days even if they’re still jobless.