This weekend, nearly 12,000 adults in 21 Georgia counties will lose their food stamps. The April 1 deadline follows the rolling out of the same plan, which deprives “able-bodied” adults from receiving food stamps if they don’t have a job, in three counties earlier this year.
This plan, which is little more than thinly veiled greed and racism, promises to cause considerable upset in the lives of thousands of Georgians who are already struggling to survive.
Conservatives like state Rep. Greg Morris, R-Vidalia, claim that “every able-bodied person should have a job. This will stop the dignity-robbing cycle of dependency on government.”
However, they fail to recognize that the majority of people classified as “able-bodied” are in fact not able to work. Many people who rely on food stamps are unable to keep sustainable employment because of issues including low levels of education, mental health issues, undiagnosed medical problems and criminal records, confirms state Rep. David Wilkerson, D-Powder Springs. “We’re taking away their safety net,” Wilkerson said. ”It’s a lack of sensitivity.”
After Gwinett, Hall and Cobb counties rolled out the work requirements the state realized that hundreds of people that had been labeled as “able-bodied” were actually unable to work. Those hundreds of people stopped receiving the food stamps they needed to survive and had to completely re-apply to the program.
Unlike what conservatives are saying, SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the current version of food stamps, does not allow for a very cushy lifestyle. The average family receiving SNAP in Georgia gets about $280 per month, or $3.12 per meal. The maximum an adult receives is $194 per month, with the average being much lower.
People who receive SNAP have no other option. Depriving them of these benefits is cruel and shows how disconnected conservatives are from their constituents and the people of Georgia. Instead of cutting people off from their food supply, Georgia should be finding ways to increase the access and quality of education and job training programs for people living in poverty.