Economy

West Virginia governor signs food stamp bill adding work requirement

West Virginia governor signs food stamp bill adding work requirement”

(WOWK) - A bill that would impose work requirements on food stamp recipients in West Virginia is now law. "Those who receive benefits from the government should be required to work or participate in work-training as a condition".

Federal regulations already require work or service requirements for those able, but waivers have been obtained for most West Virginia counties due to high unemployment.

However, people in counties with a 12-month average unemployment rate above 10 percent, a 24-month average unemployment rate 20 percent above the national average for the same period, or a "labor surplus area" as designated by the U.S. Department of Labor, can receive the waivers until October 2022.

Nine counties in the state have undergone a pilot program of SNAP work requirements.

The West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy estimates the new law will result in an $18 million reduction in federal funds from circulating in the state because fewer people will qualify for SNAP under the new requirement. However, a March 2017 memo from the state Department of Health & Human Resources stated that the pilot did not significantly impact employment figures.

However, DHHR staffers walked back these findings at committee hearings on the bill.

The maximum possible benefit is $192 a month or about $6.40 a day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

House Bill 4006 also will place all education operations under the Department of Education while at the same time saving money and making government more efficient.

Advocates of the West Virginia bill say it will eliminate fraud in the program, but opponents say it will further hurt struggling people.



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