KENNER, LA (WVUE) - Food stamp recipients may only have three months to get a job or face losing their benefits, starting today.
A waiver that allowed people to receive benefits without a job expired Oct. 1. That waiver, which was in effect since 1996, allowed able-bodied adults to receive the benefits without needing to be employed.
The changes will affect only able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 to 49 who do not have dependents.
The new rules mean those people will have to land a job, working at least 20 hours per week, or enroll in a federally approved job training program.
"We believe the more people working in the state, the better for the state, the better for the individuals, it truly is a win, win," said Suzy Sonnier, secretary for the Department of Children and Family Services.
Still, some people don't think the changes will be as successful as the state hopes.
"I think it's kind of complicated because there are folks who need food stamps and don't have the resources, so I don't think it's a good idea," Tony Perriott said.
But others think the changes don't go far enough.
"I guess it's good for the ones who are lazy, but I prefer 30 hours, I prefer that, because 20 hours that's not enough, that's two days of work and you can't support yourself on two days of work," said Lynnette Williams, who was shopping with her mother.
Some think the exemption shouldn't include people with children who receive the benefits, suggesting if they find jobs, it could improve their kids' lives.
"That'll give them a responsibility, you know you need to take care of your kids, you don't want your kids to depend on that all the time, you want them to know how it is to work too," Cheranet Alexander said.
DCFS says people who are affected will receive notice in the mail. Anyone who is affected will have three months to find work or enroll in a job training program.