The House Health and Welfare Committee approves a bill that calls for legislative approval to waive work requirements for food stamp recipients. Under federal law, people are required to either work or perform 20 hours a week of community service in order to qualify for food stamps, but that isn’t the case in Louisiana, because it receives a waiver. Monroe Representative Jay Morris says this legislation would require people to work to receive SNAP benefits.
“We need to incentivize a good, healthy activity, and if the jobs aren’t available, then community service. There are lots of groups that would love to have some help from time to time,” Morris said.
Republicans have criticized Governor John Bel Edwards’ decision to waive the work requirements for food stamp recipients, which average nearly $200 in monthly benefits. Morris says unemployed able-bodied adults should be required to take steps towards getting a job before they receive government assistance.
“Not getting up in the morning and doing something constructive is just bad for the brain and bad for society,” Morris said.
The state Department of Children and Family Services recently estimated there are 31,000 able bodied adults who would lose their benefits, if they were required to find work. The governor’s attorney Matthew Block says they are working to make sure there are enough job training and job placement services before re-instating the work requirements.
“To encourage and require this a-bod population, these 31,000 individuals, to actually do some additional things for them to be eligible for SNAP benefits,” Block said.