The Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) is making big changes to how SNAP benefits, or food stamps, are distributed.

According to a DCFS statement, no longer can able-bodied adults without dependents receive SNAP benefits if they are not employed or not seeking employment.

Adults, ages 18-49, without dependents must meet minimum work requirements of no less than 20 hours per week, or enroll in a federally-approved job training program, to qualify for food stamps. Beginning Oct. 1, adults who fail to meet the work requirements will receive SNAP benefits for only three months out of a 36-month period.

The change comes as a federal waiver that previously allowed unemployed adults to receive benefits without an imposed time limit.

"We continue to seek opportunities for SNAP recipients to increase their self-sufficiency," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. "Engaging in work activities is a key step in that transition. We are striving to reduce reliance on public benefits, increase the number of clients participating in education or workforce activities and connect Louisiana employers with ready and willing to work job candidates."

DCFS is teaming up with the Louisiana Workforce Commission to offer tools to assist adults in finding employment.

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