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Congress’ changes to food stamp benefits begin

Changes to SNAP benefits now in effect

(CNN) — The start of September brought big changes to food stamp eligibility.

Congress made changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Basically, more low-income Americans will be required to work to receive food stamps.

Able-bodied adults up to age 50 who don’t have kids will now have to show proof they are working at least 80 hours a month, or that they are enrolled in an education or training program to receive SNAP.

In October, that age requirement will increase to 52 years old.

Homeless people, veterans and adults up to 24 years old who aged out of foster care are exempt from the new mandates.

According to the Washington, D.C.-based research and policy institute Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, about 750,000 adults could lose their benefits.

Congress sees the new work requirements as having two benefits: reducing government spending, and bolstering the nation’s labor force.