If you live in North Carolina, you are about to lose your EBT food stamp benefits unless you can start to prove that you are working 20 hours per week, going to school for 20 hours per week, or volunteering for 20 hours per week. North Carolina used to have this requirement but had dropped it in 2008 due to the recession. However, now that the economy in at least 23 counties has gone up, officials have decided to put the requirement into place again.
News Observer says this requirement is only for those people who are under the age of 50 and don’t have any children. Although the other 77 counties are seeing a slower increase in the economy, the legislature for the state has acted to restore the requirement for the whole state starting on July 1.
This change will affect 115,000 people from North Carolina. Although those under 50 with no children will have to document everything they do when it comes to work, education, or volunteering, they can get benefits for up to three months without meeting this requirement.
Social services in each county of the state are now moving fast to make sure everyone in the state knows about the requirement and that they will be able to meet it. If they can’t, they will lose their benefits. If people lose their benefits because they can’t meet the requirement for any reason, they will turn to food banks more often. Because of this, the food banks say they are working to get more food in just in case people can’t meet the requirement. Although they say they are already stretched thin because those on food stamps now still do use their services to get by, they say they will do what they have to, to make sure people still get to eat.
According to the Huffington Post, this policy was put into effect last year for residents in the state of Wisconsin. A woman by the name of Becky Murphy says she has to drive 18 miles to the nearest town to meet her caseworker to show him her activity report form. When filling out the form, she has to write down if she applied for a job, where she applied at, what kind of job did she apply to, how far she drove to apply, and if she sent an email following up with them about getting hired.
Murphy has two different opinions on this. She says, on one hand, it seems like they don’t trust people and that they are saying you have to document everything you are doing and then they will decide if they want to believe you or not. She also says on the other hand, she can understand them wanting to do this because of people who abuse the system.
Not only will these people be affected by this change in the policy to get and keep their food stamps, but there has also been a change to those who are on unemployment. News Observer reported that those who are on unemployment will have to get five “contacts” or they won’t receive their unemployment check. This means people who are on unemployment will have to make contact with five different potential employers and actively try to get a job. However, when making a job inquiry, you can either apply online or in person. It doesn’t matter, as long as you are trying to get a job.
Some officials are worried that with both of these requirements hitting the state at the same time, it will hit the poorest people in the state. Not only this but many people won’t meet the food stamp requirement because they don’t have transportation.
Some officials think this will have a worse impact than the immigration provisions.
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