Tightened requirements for people receiving SNAP benefits will only impact some people in seven Tennessee counties, including Scott and Hancock counties in East Tennessee.
The new rule will limit the ability of states to exempt work-eligible adults from having to obtain steady employment in order to receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
USDA officials say the rule announced Wednesday would save roughly $5.5 billion over five years. Benefits would be cut for roughly 688,000 recipients.
According to the state Department of Human Services (DHS), the state has granted Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD) waivers in only seven counties that are heavily impacted by poverty and unemployment. Those counties are Bledsoe, Hancock, Jackson, Lake, Lauderdale, McNairy and Scott.
Those waivers do not require the 20 hours of work, training or volunteering that is usually required to receive SNAP benefits. The new federal rules would eliminate the state's ability to request those waivers.
A DHS spokesperson told 10News that doesn't mean everyone in those counties would lose benefits. It would impact only those who are able-bodied adults without dependents.
The state is still investigating how these changes will impact SNAP beneficiaries in Tennessee.