PRESS RELEASE | June 22, 2016
Contact: Kara Irani, Director of Marketing
+ Communications kirani@MANNAFoodBank.org (828) 299-FOOD (3663) x1223
July 1st Marks the Next Wave in Food Stamp Restrictions for Most WNC Counties
Asheville, NC (June 22, 2016) – On July 1, the majority of WNC counties will implement a work
requirement for many seeking support from Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), the food stamp program
in North Carolina. This requirement affects individuals 18 to 49 years of age that are categorized
as ABAWD – Able-Bodied Adult without Dependents – regardless of the availability of employment.
The ABAWD work requirement affects thousands of eligible FNS recipients and applicants across WNC.
If the work requirement is not met, individuals that fall into this category are only eligible to
receive FNS benefits for three months within a three-year period.
This federal work requirement states that an individual must work 20 hours a week, or volunteer at
an accredited non-profit agency for 20 hours a week. These hours are averaged monthly, so the
individual must work or volunteer for 80 a month in order to be eligible to receive FNS benefits.
Residents in the following WNC counties will be affected by this rule change starting July 1, 2016:
Avery, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Swain,
Transylvania and Yancey. Buncombe, Haywood and Henderson counties saw this rule change go in to
effect on January 1.
While the unemployment rate for North Carolina currently stands at 5.1 percent (seasonally
adjusted), the WNC counties affected by the FNS rule change are experiencing higher unemployment,
ranging from 5.4 – 9.2 percent. This higher-than-state average unemployment rate, which reflects those actively
looking for work, is concerning for MANNA’s service area, and could play a negative role in those
affected by the ABAWD work requirement.
Available Resources for Support
Info Sheet: The accompanying info sheet was created by the MANNA FoodBank FNS Outreach team to
assist WNC residents that have questions about this upcoming rule change.
MANNA Food HelpLine: The MANNA Food HelpLine is another resource available to those needing
assistance with Food and Nutrition Services, whether it is an application for benefits, or a
recertification for continuing benefits. That toll-free number is: 1-800-820-1109
About MANNA FoodBank
MANNA FoodBank is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving Western North Carolina since 1983. As
an accredited member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization,
the mission of MANNA FoodBank is to involve, educate, and unite people in the work of ending hunger
in Western North Carolina. MANNA serves over 200 community-based non-profit food assistance partner
agencies in 16 Western North Carolina counties and distributed 15.7 million pounds of food in 2015.
For more information, visit MANNAFoodbank.org, or call 828-299-FOOD.