North Carolina’s new, stricter food stamp requirements take effect statewide AP Photo/Allen Breed, File

New food stamp restrictions that took effect at the start of this year in North Carolina mean that recipients across the state have three months to find work, start school or volunteer or else. In 2008, federal authorities lifted this requirement as the economy bottomed out, according to the Charlotte Observer. It applies to anyone under 50 without children.

Nationally, according to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) data from the FDA, the number of Americans receiving food stamps peaked in 2013. After going as high as 47,636,000 (about one in seven Americans), the number of Americans receiving food stamps has gone down every year since.

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Thanks to economic recovery, 23 counties in North Carolina were slated to renew the work requirements, but the Republican state government voted to expand the requirement to an additional 77 counties in the state, covering everyone in North Carolina. They renewed the food stamp requirements even though those counties did not meet federal targets for economic recovery and could have continued to offer food stamps where recovery was slower.

Around 115,000 people in North Carolina will be subject to the new regulations.

Patrick is a content editor for Rare.
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