Thousands of food stamp recipients prepare to find jobs under new policy

Local News
A photo of fruit. Source KGBT.JPG

A photo of fruit. (Source: KGBT)

WESLACO, Texas (KGBT) — According to Texas Health and Human Services, more than 100,000 Texans applied for SNAP benefits in December.

However, thousands of Americans are preparing to say goodbye to the last of their food stamp benefits this spring.

“If someone is receiving SNAP benefits and they are not employed they are going to be asked to come and see us so we can help them find employment,” Workforce Solutions Career Center Manager, Geri Escobar said.

The policy will require able-bodied-adults without dependents also known as ‘Abawds’ to visit state agencies like workforce solutions where they will explain the new requirement to receive food stamps for a limited time. 

Under the new policy change, Abawds would receive benefits between 3 to 36 months and will be required to work or volunteer a minimum of 20 hours a week. 

“We do have positions in constructions, in retail, in transportation and hospitality…the positions are in high demand,” she explained.

According to Workforce Solutions, the agency receives hundreds of local jobs postings a month that Abawds are qualified to fill. 

“They’ll be working with a career counselor to establish what their goals are and what their needs are to work towards becoming employed. We will also offer supportive services to help remove any barriers.”

 According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, SNAP agencies can only extend the food stamp time deadline if the valley reaches a 10 percent unemployment rate or if there are insufficient local jobs available.

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