Polls taken across the nation have shown support for requiring able-bodied food stamp recipients or other welfare recipients to work. In recent years, however, work requirements were removed from the food stamp program.
There is reportedly an opportunity to change that in North Carolina.
The new farm bill (Subtitle A, section 4022) includes authorization for a three-year pilot program for up to 10 states to set up work requirements for food stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.)
I listened in on a teleconference during which this effort’s main sponsor, Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) described the measure. If I understand correctly, it basically imposes the work requirements for welfare on food stamp programs. Individuals have to spend a certain amount of time working, looking for work, or getting job training. The time requirements are lessened for those with small children. There are exemptions for those who are disabled, too old, etc.
What’s most important, he said, is that it is a way to channel people into the workforce, not only for the benefit of the state’s economy, but for their own benefit.
Eighteen Texas members of Congress are already urging the Lone Star State to take part in the program, as summarized in a letter to the Texas Workforce Commission. Republican Rep. Randy Neugebauer added, “This pilot program includes work requirements and employment training to create opportunities for Americans to move off food stamps. I would be proud if my home state could be a forerunner in demonstrating the success of these reforms.”
You might think Tar Heel politicians would also be proud to have tried such an experiment. Yet I have not been able to find news of officials making the same push for NC to start such a pilot program. Perhaps our leaders are preparing such an effort behind closed doors. If you’ve heard of any NC politicos or bureaucrats who support a pilot program for food stamp work requirements, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.