The Federal Government requires that people 18 to 49 years of age with no children get a job to be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Because of it's high jobless rate, that rule has not applied to Mississippi.
According to the Mississippi Department of Human Services, state leaders did not reapply for that exemption this year. That means individuals who fail to meet the mandatory work requirements will only receive 3 months of benefits within a 36 month period.
However, Suzanne Anderson with DHS says there are some exemptions.
"There are pregnant women, and individuals that are unfit for work. If they're homeless, have drug or alcohol addiction, we are able to exempt those individuals," says Anderson.
Beth Orlansky of the Mississippi Center for Justice questions why the state would opt out of the exemption.
"The fact that the entire state is eligible for a waiver means that our unemployment rate is much too high. Until all the jobs are there, it's not appropriate to take away the help that people need," Orlansky says.
With or without the exemption, the The Department of Human Services says it's important for able bodied Mississippians to find jobs.