New Food Stamp Requirement In Maine Causes Sudden Drop In Enrollment

Jan Omega

At its very core, the purpose behind food stamps is a very novel case of helping the less fortunate. There are times in people's lives best explained as trying. Sometimes, these trying times may result in a sudden decrease in income, making the purchasing of necessities, such as food, difficult. Food stamps are a means for these unfortunate people to feed themselves and their families until they bounce back from the difficulty. Unfortunately, many people abuse the welfare system by unscrupulous means, just so they don't have to pay for food.

As a result, The Inquisitr reported that food stamps are actually the "new form of money" to splurge and abuse, in which one couple kept receiving food stamps despite owning a $1.2 million dollar yacht.

Presently, states are fighting the fraud by implementing certain requirements that need to be met to qualify for food stamps. In Maine, they added on one extra requirement for enrollment for their food stamps. It is believed that one requirement caused a sudden drop in its enrollment.

According to an article by the Boston Globe, Governor Paul LePage allowed a federal waiver to expire earlier this year so he could reinstate the following requirement into food stamp enrollment.

"With certain exceptions, able-bodied adults between 16 and 60 years of age must register for work, accept an offer of suitable work, and take part in an employment and training program to which they are referred by [the Office for Family Independence]."

Paul LePage also stated that the total hours of labor need to be at least 20, and it could be earned through work or volunteering. It wasn't made clear if a combination of both is plausible. Nevertheless, LePage wants to enforce the stricter rules to help guide a generation of Maine residents who have grown "dependent on government handouts."

However, it should be noted not all who live on food stamps are just being lazy. Most of them actually have jobs, and Paul LePage's additional requirement will affect all 12,000 of them. For example, some towns may have citizens who find this requirement more of a clutch. The town of Calais is a remote city of 3,000, and meeting the work requirements there could prove particularly challenging because jobs are scarce.

The people of Calais, as well as other Maine residents, contribute to the fact that Maine is one of the top states in food stamp usage, according to IJReview. Utilizing an article by the Huffington Post back in 2011, Maine is the number nine state, in which 18.6 percent of its 1,328,361 population are using food stamps. Compared to the year prior, that is an increase of 8 percent.

In conclusion, Maine's population have given mixed reviews on Paul LePage's additional requirement for food stamp qualification. Yet reports state that LePage's plan is working, causing a positive effect on Maine's economy.

What are your opinions about Paul LePage's plan for food stamp enrollment? Should able-bodied adults be required to work or volunteer in order to get food stamps, even if unemployment in their town is high with lower job opportunities?

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