A new study suggests Georgians would be hard hit by a proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture rule, which would cut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits for people without proof of employment or evidence they are looking for a job.
Giridhar Mallya, a senior policy officer with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that funded an analysis of the possible effects with the USDA’s proposal, said Georgia is one of 11 states that would be disproportionately affected.
About 1.8 million Georgians rely on monthly SNAP benefits to keep food on the table.
"Georgia is one of 11 states that would see the greatest degree of impact," Mallya said. "Eighty-one thousand people would potentially be affected in this state."
The people most at risk are living alone in poverty, making roughly $600 a month, he said.
If the proposal passes, the state should expect to provide training and employment services.
"Many of these folks have very limited education and training, which may make it hard for them to get into and stay in the workforce," Mallya said. "Many of these folks do have health problems where they may not qualify as being officially disabled but the health problems may keep them from working regularly."
Also, while the people who would be most affected do not by definition have children to support, they are often caretakers, Mallya said.
Food banks that are already strained can expect to see a surge when people lose SNAP benefits.