Cobb County

Thousands in metro area no longer eligible for food stamps

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Thousands of Georgians are now going without food stamps because of new requirements.
Those who spoke to Channel 2's Sophia Choi say they understand the state wanting to hold able-bodied adults accountable, but they say sometimes, people just need a little help. 
"It's just hard, it's hard," one mother said.
The mother says she's lucky she's approved for benefits. It wasn't always that way.
"I was there, before I had my son five year ago.. I tried to apply for benefits and you know what? It's just you, you're single, you can find a job, you can do a,b,c, or d."
Since the state instituted new regulations in January requiring able-bodied adults with no dependents to work, thousands fewer people are applying for food-stamp benefits.
Part of the deal was that the state would help food-stamp applicants find work, but critics say that's not happening.
"The state received a couple of different grants, one of them from the federal government was 15 million dollars, that grant helped approximately nine people get jobs," said Rachel Lazarus of the Legal Aid Society.  
The Department of Family and Children Services, or DFCS, sent Channel 2 a statement saying in part:
"The customer is referred to the Department of Labor, but job searching activities are largely self driven," Lazarus said.
In the targeted counties of Cobb, Gwinnett and Hall, new numbers from DFCS show 3,685 fewer able-bodied adults without dependents are getting food stamps than before the new rules went into effect.
DFCS says many of those people got cut off, because they never showed up to prove they needed help.
But critics say many are just having a hard time finding work, and now it's that much harder.
"Think about how much harder it is to try and do a job interview, if you hadn't eaten lunch that day," Lazarus said.