Another state is making people work for food stamps, and it has some people are up in arms without knowing all the details. Typical liberals, who are filled with lots of emotion but low on the facts, are worried that children and disabled people will now go without. If they did a little research, they would know this expired waiver will only affect able-bodied people with no children.
The federal waiver that has been in place since 2010 because of the recession has been allowed to expire in the state of Maine. This allows Maine to reinstate a mandate requiring able-bodied adults who are 18 to 50 years old and have no children to work or volunteer 20 hours per week or they will be limited to three months of food stamp benefits over a three-year period.
Just elected to a second term, Maine’s Republican Governor Paul R. LePage is focused on broad welfare reform and said, “People who are in need deserve a hand up, but we should not be giving able-bodied individuals a handout. We must continue to do all that we can to eliminate generational poverty and get people back to work. We must protect our limited resources for those who are truly in need and who are doing all they can to be self-sufficient.”
In Lepage’s State of the State speech he said, “There is no excuse for able-bodied adults to spend a lifetime on welfare at the expense of hard-working, struggling Mainers. That is not what I call compassion. As John F. Kennedy said in 1961: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’ These are words that still ring true today.”
Nearly 12,000 people in the Food Stamp program are considered ‘Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents’ by federal rules. Approximately $15 million a year in Food Supplemental benefits are provided to this group.
There are many ways for these people to fulfill this requirement. They can work, volunteer for community agencies, or participate in the Competitive Skills Scholarship Program, where they learn new skills that will help them get better quality, higher paying jobs.
Even in the small eastern city of Calais — where jobs are scarce, the unemployment rate of 9% is almost double the state average, and 1 in 4 receive food stamps — people support the new requirement changes.
People interviewed by the Boston Globe at the local food pantry spoke with emotion against the rampant abuse of the system.
Jean Wade, in her 50’s, said she lives modestly on disability payments. As she carried bags of food to her car one recent morning, she said that too many young people in the area, including her own son, are willing to accept food stamps and work under the table. “They sneak around doing odd jobs and getting paid,” she said. “We need to be whipped into shape.”
Paula Seeley, 51, accompanied her elderly brother-in-law to the food pantry. She said Walmart is hiring, yet many young people won’t apply for jobs. She and her husband moved to the area from Greater Boston several years ago to retire early. She also supports the requirement to work or volunteer. “It’s the ones that are able to work, and don’t work, and don’t have kids,” she said. “Go get a job!”
Maine joins at least 16 other states in renewing the ‘work for food’ policy.
What do you think? Should all states be required to do this?