Bill in the Senate may limit food assistance

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A bill in the Senate would ban state agencies from issuing waivers on food stamps, making it harder for adults to get meals.

In North Carolina, childless, non-disabled adults are limited to SNAP benefits for three months out of every three years unless they’re working at least half time or participating in a qualified job training program for 20 hours a week.

“Right now the federal proposal with counties with 10 percent unemployment rate or higher would have the option of a waiver, the counties below that would not have that option,” said Thomas Knight.

Department of Health and Human Services Quality Improvement Manager, Thomas Knight says the department asked for waivers in 77 counties this year and many of those counties right here in the east.

State lawmakers are looking to stop those waivers essentially forcing recipients to find jobs.

Knight says it’s important for people to have resources to guide them through the process of finding a job.

“What we want to do is help people get through those tough times in their life. It is not designed to live on. We want to help them in times that they are struggling so when we get back their able to obtain employment or whatever they want to do with their career,” explained Knight.

A previous program to help people find work hasn’t been implemented in Pitt County for several years.

“This program is designed to help individuals obtain employment, their GED, if they need to get a GED and its really designed to help them better themselves,” said Knight.

The Senate takes up the bill tonight at 7.

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