11.10.14, 06:06 AM #1
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Maine will no longer waive food stamp work requirements
Gov. Paul LePage announced Wednesday that Maine will no longer seek a federal waiver that allows some able-bodied adults to receive food stamps without fulfilling work requirements.
“We must continue to do all that we can to eliminate generational poverty and get people back to work,” LePage said in a statement announcing the change, which would take effect Oct. 1. “We must protect our limited resources for those who are truly in need and who are doing all they can to be self-sufficient.”
Currently, Maine receives a waiver from the federal government that allows some food stamp recipients to receive benefits without meeting work requirements. Maine has received the waiver for the past six years, largely because of its high employment rate and anemic job market.
In fact, all but four states have received waivers during at least some years since 2008, when the economy sank and unemployment rose nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency that oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps. It was not clear Wednesday how many of those states receive a waiver this year or how many have reinstated the work requirement.
Without the waiver, able-bodied food stamp recipients in Maine will need to meet a work requirement outlined in federal law, which means they need to either work at least 20 hours a week or volunteer for a community agency.
According to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, able-bodied recipients are defined as adults ages 18 to 49 who have no dependents, are not pregnant and are not disabled.
DHHS has identified 12,000 current recipients in Maine who fit that definition. They represent about 5 percent of all food stamp recipients and collectively receive about $15 million per year in benefits, or about 4.4 percent of all food stamp dollars that come to Maine. It’s not known how many of these would fail to satisfy the work requirement.
Those who fit the definition of able-bodied will receive notification of the change in the coming weeks.
The federal government provides funding to cover food stamp benefits, but the program is administered by the states, and the states cover the administrative costs. Each state has some discretion over how the program is administered and who should be deemed eligible.
LePage: Maine will no longer waive food stamp work requirements - The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram"Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton
11.12.14, 03:40 AM #2
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Great news !!!!
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