Thousands of Minnesotans will have to meet work requirements in order to receive food stamps -- officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP -- for more than three months.
The change will affect able-bodied adults who don't have dependents.
Under a federal waiver those Minnesotans have been able to receive food stamps without a time limit due to the recession. But the state's unemployment rate has improved, so the waiver is ending next week.
Erin Sullivan Sutton, assistant commissioner for Children and Family Services at the Minnesota Department of Human Services, says people will be limited to three months of food stamps in a three-year period if they don't meet the requirements. Able-bodied adults without dependents will have to either work, look for work, or train for work for at least 80 hours per month.
"We hope if people are not eligible for the waiver, that they continue to have an ability to access food if necessary -- whether through the foods shelves or food banks," Sutton said. "We want people to have information about what resources might be available to them."
The state estimates about 41,000 people will be affected. The state has received permission to continue the waiver on seven reservations and in four counties where unemployment remains high: Cass, Clearwater, Kanabec, and Mille Lacs.