Work, Training Relinked to WV Food Stamps
Charleston Gazette-Mail - Up to 47,700 West Virginians could lose their food stamp benefits next year unless they work part-time or take job-training classes. Read
The state Department of Health and Human Resources announced Monday that it is reinstating work and job-training requirements for recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) benefits in nine counties — Kanawha, Putnam, Cabell, Monongalia, Berkeley, Harrison, Morgan, Jefferson and Marion.
The requirements take effect Jan. 1. The government will kick SNAP recipients out of the program if they fail to comply after three months. To keep food benefits, they must work or take part in workforce training programs at least 20 hours a week.
"Because of the unemployment rate in West Virginia, we tried to look at a smaller population," said Nancy Exline, commissioner of the state Bureau for Children and Families. "These are counties where jobs and training opportunities are available, where these individuals would have the opportunity to meet the requirements and keep their SNAP benefits."
The requirements apply to nondisabled SNAP recipients ages 18 to 49 who don't have dependent children.
Advocates for low-income West Virginians said the DHHR's announcement couldn't come at a worse time.
"The policy change is really about imposing a time limit for food assistance, not a work requirement," said Ted Boettner, executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, a left-leaning think tank. "This is a complicated rule, and there is a risk that otherwise eligible people will get kicked off, which has happened in other states."
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