FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Around 12,000 Arkansans will lose their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits on Friday (April 1).
SNAP provides a monthly benefit for eligible families in Arkansas. According to Strike Force Sebastian County, the average monthly benefit per recipient is $112.43.
Due to the unemployment rate, Arkansas no longer qualifies for a waiver of rules under the program. Starting Friday, those who are losing benefits will include people between the ages of 18-49 who are able to work and have no dependents.
Individuals in this category will be limited to three months of benefits in any 36-month period.
However, those individuals may continue to use the program if they work at least 20 hours per week or are enrolled in a job-training program.
Other exemptions include people with a mental disability, who are pregnant or caring for a disabled person.
Local food banks are prepared to pick up the weight if there is need.
"We have quite a bit of food on hand, so we are able to handle an influx right now," said River Valley Food Bank director Ted Clemmons. "In our region we are feeding approximately 43-53,000 a month."
Clemmons said 1,000 people in the region are losing benefits on Friday.