(Baton Rouge, LA) – Last week The Foundation for Government Accountability published a report titled “Waivers Gone Wild,” detailing the steps taken by Governor John Bel Edwards to sidestep work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents, allowing them to still receive food stamp benefits.
Federal law generally requires able-bodied adults without dependents to work, train, or volunteer at least part-time to maintain food stamp eligibility. These rules apply to non-pregnant adults who are between the ages of 18 and 50, who are mentally and physically fit for employment, and who have no dependent children or incapacitated family members living at home.
However, in Louisiana, Governor Edwards has gone to great lengths to game the system. According to the report, Louisiana starts its waiver period in September, the last month of the federal fiscal year. This exploits a regulatory loophole that lets Governor Edwards use unemployment data back to December 2015. Further, Governor Edwards decided to put all 64 parishes together into one single group, allowing many parishes to qualify for waivers even if the local economy is thriving.
Today in Louisiana, 60,310 able-bodied adults without dependents are on food stamps and under the guidance of John Bel Edwards, 76% of those able-bodied adults are not working. That means there are 45,850 able-bodied adults without dependents that are cooperating with Governor Edwards to game the system and take advantage of taxpayers across the state.
“My colleagues and I want those who need help to get it; however, with that help should come opportunity - the opportunity to learn a new skill, improve their resume through community services, and find a job that will help them thrive instead of just survive. This report shows that the Governor’s administration is leading our state further down a pathway of government dependence, while other states are choosing a path toward prosperity, ” said State Representative Rick Edmonds.
“We cannot ignore the facts on, or the implications of, this issue. Most of the nation is experiencing record job growth and economic success because they empower their people to become successful; however, our state allows able-bodied food stamp recipients with no dependents to bypass federal work requirements that could ultimately help them find a good job.”
The full report can be found at: