- Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The state estimates that at the end of March, roughly 12,000 unemployed Arkansas residents will lose their food-stamp benefits because of the imposition of work requirements on adults in the program.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1QBtdwt ) reports that the state is sending out 12,000 notices to the first round of people expected to lose food-stamp benefits beginning April 1.

The state began enforcing the federal requirements on Jan. 1. Food-assistance benefits are limited to three months for able-bodied, childless adults from ages 18 to 49 if they aren’t employed, in school or participating in a volunteer or job-training program.

The three-month limit has previously been waived in Arkansas and several other states as unemployment skyrocketed during a recession. The federal government is now imposing the requirements.

A report by Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., says Arkansas is one of 23 states with limits in place for the first time since the recession.

The center estimates that 500,000 to 1 million U.S. citizens enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will have their food-stamp benefits cut this year.

U.S. Department of Agriculture announced last week that federal resources will assist states in building job-training efforts in a two-year program aimed at moving adults off food stamps.

Arkansas Foodbank and other organizations also coordinate with the Department of Human Services to offer volunteer opportunities for people to meet food-stamp requirements.

“Our pantries and local agencies are there to help provide them with food they may need,” said Rhonda Sanders, chief executive officer of the Arkansas Foodbank. “We’re also working on allowing folks who need job training and job opportunities to hook up with some of our pantries and actually work there and learn skills of how to manage inventory and customer service. Things like that we feel would be a good opportunity for them to enhance job skills.”

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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