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More unemployed residents set to lose their food stamp benefits
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Nearly 200 Hall County residents have lost their food stamp benefits since the beginning of the year after a work requirement was reinstated.

And nearly a hundred more could also be off the list by May.

It’s a sign of the improving economy, according to state officials.

Wendy Glasbrenner, managing attorney of the Georgia Legal Services Program in Gainesville, which provides pro bono support to low-income and disabled clients, said she has not seen any cases yet but is advising people to know their rights.

“I would like the folks who are getting these notices to know that they can contest the termination of their benefits,” Glasbrenner said. “You can still appeal within 90 days of the notice and get retroactive stamps if you win your case.”

In all, 279 individuals could be out of food stamp benefits by May.

Georgia is reinstating a work requirement that limits able-bodied adults with no dependents to just three months of food assistance within a three-year period.

According to the state Division of Family and Children Services, 529 food stamp recipients in Hall were subject to the rule at the beginning of the year if they do not contact the agency to report that they are working at least 20 hours a week or plan to enroll in a job training program.

There were nearly 7,500 households in Hall that collected food stamps in 2014, according to census figures.

The median income for local food stamp recipients is $23,401, and they receive an average of $190 a month in assistance.

The work requirement was lifted during the economic recession, but 23 states are reinstating it this year in regions where unemployment is lowest.

“We can represent people in proving they cannot work,” Glasbrenner said.