ATLANTA — In just a few days, thousands of Georgians are likely to lose their food stamps if they can't find a job.
In January, the state changed the work requirements for able-bodied recipients without children in 21 Georgia counties, including several in the Atlanta area, such as Forsyth, Fayette, Paulding, Bartow and Coweta.
Under the work mandate, nearly 12,000 people received an ultimatum: get a job or lose your food stamps.
The April 1 deadline for that to happen is fast approaching.
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Three Georgia counties that put the work mandate in place last year have a seen a significant decline in food stamp recipients, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Georgia provides food stamps to 1.7 million people. Of those, about 113,000 are classified as able-bodied adults without children.
The work requirements are wildly popular among conservatives who believe these people need to be pushed into finding work. But progressives say its a harsh policy that doesn't take into account the challenges many of these people face, such as physical and mental health issues.
State officials say they plan to expand the work requirements to all 159 counties in the state by 2019, with another 60 coming on board next year.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.
Cox Media Group