An estimated 6,500 Maine residents are reportedly no longer receiving food stamp benefits. According to Think Progress, the latest report comes just months after Gov. Paul LePage (R) proposed changes to the state’s eligibility requirements for SNAP beneficiaries.
Back in October, the state of Maine announced changes that would require recipients to work in order to continue receiving food stamps. The Department of Health and Human Services specified that all “able-bodied” adults without dependents would be required to fulfill one of three requirements in order to receive food stamp benefits. The options include working or volunteering for a minimum of 20 hours a week, or enrolling in a job training program. Based on the recent report, more than 6,000 of the 214,000 SNAP recipients did not meet those requirements and no longer receive food stamp benefits.
In 2008, several states requested exemption from the law, which raised the eligibility requirements for welfare recipients. However, the request was due to the nationwide financial distress brought on by the recession. Now, some of those same states are looking to reinforce the law, reports New Republic.
“We must continue to do all that we can to eliminate generational poverty and get people back to work,” said Gov. LePage. “We must protect our limited resources for those who are truly in need and who are doing all they can to be self-sufficient.”
According to Press Herald, Gov. LePage’s administration has stressed that the changes have been implemented for two reasons: “preventing fraud and ensuring that taxpayer assistance goes only to the truly needy.”
However, the concept of “eliminating generational poverty” has sparked quite a debate. While a staggering number of readers have accused food stamp recipients of abusing the system, others have expressed that the laws are designed for failure due to the lack of jobs. It has also been reported that many recipients have been booted from the SNAP program while looking for employment. However, many of the comments still leaned toward the disapproval of using benefits as way of life as opposed to a temporary fix in times of financial hardship.
“This assistance was never meant to provide a way of life for most!!”
“About time the lazy get off the sofa and get to work! Starve or work, their choice!”
“Welfare was never meant to be the way a person lives till death. It was set up to help in time of need. Those with children but when the child got of school age you needed to go to work. The plan talked about here is a good one. I feel if a person has a medical need it is different. Welfare use became the way for people to get paid for doing NOTHING it is time for all able bodied people to work. I was taught you want something work for it or you don’t get it.”
“either work or volunteer 20 hours a week or enroll in an employment training program” You have options….”
“Tell that to a kid who’s dead beat parents don’t strive to be their lives. Why is it that when the wealthy steal millions nobody ever had opinions about it. But yet people are hypocritical when it comes to poor families. May you hope you never have to experience bring laid off of your job and have a hard time looking for another. Hypocrites.”
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently shed light on the flawed SNAP system with statistics about the deficiency of job availability. An estimated 1.6 million food stamp recipients are projected to lose benefits while looking for employment, or attempting to enroll in job training programs.
“Even SNAP recipients whose state operates few or no employment programs for them and fails to offer them a spot in a work or training program — which is the case in most states — have their benefits cut off after three months irrespective of whether they are searching diligently for a job.”
Do you think Maine’s stiffer requirements for food stamps will serve as a means of eliminating generational poverty? Share your thoughts.
[Image via 4ClosureFraud]