Reforming food stamps: Encourage work, discourage fraud
Two bills in Congress would help ensure that a big part of welfare’s “safety net” — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka food stamps — doesn’t foster dependency or offer loopholes for fraud.
Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., told The Daily Signal that his Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017 would require able-bodied recipients without dependent children to prove they’re searching for jobs. It follows the lead of Alabama, where able-bodied adults’ food-stamp participation dropped by 85 percent in 13 counties after officials required them to work, seek work or take approved job training. The Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act, introduced by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, would provide for “state-run work activation” programs to help food stamp recipients find jobs.
Both bills are in keeping with 1996 changes that limited able-bodied recipients 18-49 without dependents to three months of food stamps in a 36-month period unless they find work or are in such a program. Heritage Foundation scholar Robert Rector, who specializes in poverty and welfare issues, says Mr. Graves’ bill would save taxpayers $80 billion-plus over the next decade. Stiffer work requirements also would encourage rejoining the workforce and discourage the sort of food stamp fraud with which 68 Pennsylvanians, including seven in Westmoreland and Allegheny counties, were charged in May.
All that should make passage of these welfare reform bills a no-brainer.
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