According to Governor LePage’s administration, 9,000 fewer Mainers have been using SNAP benefits, commonly called food stamps, since last year when it began enforcing volunteer and work requirements.
Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson David Sorenson told the Associated Press that roughly 12,000 able-bodied and childless adults were in the program at the end of last year, but that figure has since dropped this month to 2,680.
Before last year, Maine had waived the federal requirement that mandates that adults without disabilities or children work or volunteer at least 20 hours per week in order to receive food stamps.
But in July of 2014, Governor LePage announced that Maine would not seek another federal waiver, and would be fully enforcing the work requirement.
“We must continue to do all that we can to eliminate generational poverty and get people back to work,” LePage said in a statement at the time. “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 2013, Maine had one of the highest food stamp participation rates in the country, and was behind only Oregon and Mississippi in percentage of people utilizing the program.
But according to the most recent data from the USDA, Maine had about 211,513 people participating in the food stamp program in December 2014, which is a more than 10% decrease from December 2013.
This most recent drop of 9,000 participants represents another 4.25% decrease in the Maine program’s overall size.
A 2012 Rasmussen national poll found that while 83% of adults supported a work requirement for welfare recipients, only 7% flat-out opposed it.
Cancel the program and they will ALL be off food stamps, though many of them will be starving. Get the numbers down; just turn your eyes away: great Republican strategy!
Obviously, if Mr. Lepage allowed Mainers to continue to receive benefits in prior years by waiver of the Federal law , then this was known to be coming in the future. This is not targeting disabled and elderly folks. If someone is truly searching for work actively as the Federal law mandates, then they should have no issues with volunteering in the meantime 20 hours per week in order to continue to feed their families. Why does this have to be about Democrats or Republicans? If you need food so your families can eat, and are capable of doing so then get a job or volunteer. Our state is broke and cuts need to be made. And while agree more needs to be done to bring more jobs into the state, too many people make a career of welfare. When utilized properly it is a help out, not a hand out. What incentive would anyone have to get a job if they are living in subsidized housing and getting free assistance without contributing back to society? Please help me understand this logic Mr. Democrat.
As the Gov says: “A hand up, not a hand out.).