Sample Letter for Welfare Commissioners - Guidance on Time Limited Food
(Sample Letter attached to letter to Regional Administrators)
Under new provisions established by the Personal Responsibility and Work
Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (the Act), Food Stamp Program eligibility
will be limited to three months in a three-year period for certain able-bodied
adults who are not working or participating in a work program for at least
20 hours each week or who are not enrolled in a workfare program. Recognizing
that area labor market forces and the availability of job training slots
determine an individual's ability to met the new criteria, the Act authorizes
the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to grant to States waivers of
the three month restriction for individuals who reside in an area that:
(1) has an unemployment rate which exceeds 10 percent; or (2) does not
have a "sufficient number of jobs to provide employment for the individuals."
When a State agency can certify that data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
(BLS) show an unemployment rate above 10 percent in specified areas, the
State may begin to operate the waiver in those areas at the time the waiver
request is submitted. To assist you, we have enclosed a list of counties
for which BLS data indicate that the unemployment rate, averaged from
July, 1995 to June, 1996, exceeded 10 percent.
USDA must approve waivers based on a lack of sufficient jobs before they
take effect, and we will certainly work with you to expedite these requests.
To aid you in this process, we are providing you with guidance on submitting
a waiver request, data sources which can be used to substantiate the request,
and descriptions of various approaches for evaluating whether an area
lacks a "sufficient number of jobs" to justify a waiver. We hope this
information will be helpful to you in evaluating and substantiating waivers
of the three-month time limit. Please contact your regional office if
you have any questions.