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Department of Human Services Committed to Continue Connecting People With Jobs to Meet Work Requirements

Work requirement reinstated February 1st for certain individuals who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits
Wednesday, January 31, 2018 | 12:53pm

NASHVILLE –The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is continuing to help recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps) find meaningful employment after Thursday’s work requirements are reinstated for certain individuals in an additional 70 counties.

Beginning February 1, 2018, able-bodied adults without dependents who receive SNAP benefits in these counties will be required to either:

·         Work a minimum of 20 hours a week;

·         Participate in an approved volunteer program 20 hours a week; or

·         Study or train 20 hours a week in an approved activity.

In order to connect individuals with meaningful employment, TDHS has partnered with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and other community agencies to strengthen our employment efforts across the state. TDHS has hosted 7 career and resource fairs across the state, paying particular attention to the areas where work requirements will be reinstated, to help connect people with hundreds of employment opportunities and resources available in their communities.   A similar event is currently planned for Memphis in March.

“Our work in establishing partnerships that connect people with employment and educational opportunities is an essential component of the DHS mission,” said TDHS Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes.  “Meaningful employment opportunities are the first step to improving the strength of our citizens and building strong communities.  When we have strong citizens and communities, we create a thriving Tennessee.”

TDHS, which administers the SNAP, conducted a review of all 95 counties before determining which counties would be eligible for instituting work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents. That review evaluated criteria including unemployment rates, labor surplus status, poverty rates and per capita income.

Work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents were waived in 2008 to meet a growing concern with high unemployment during the Great Recession.  With the state’s record low unemployment rates and significant job growth, the waiver is no longer needed across the state, but will remain in 16 counties designated as economically distressed.

SNAP provides nutritional assistance benefits to roughly one million people in Tennessee. The program helps supplement the monthly food budgets of families with low-income to buy the food they need, maintain good health and allow them to use more of their income for essential living expenses.

Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at www.tn.gov/humanservices.   

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CONTACT:  Sky Arnold

OFFICE: 615-313-5551

CELL:  615-450-4107