Republican Gov. Paul LePage recently began enforcing Maine’s volunteer and work requirements for food stamp SNAP recipients to keep their benefits. The end result was more than 9,000 non-disabled adults getting dropped from the program.
The rules prevent adults who are not disabled and do not have dependents from receiving food stamps for more than three months, unless they work at least 20 hours a week, participate in a work-training program, or meet volunteer guidelines for 24 hours out of the month. Any one of those three getting met will not result in the loss of their SNAP food benefit.
Let me emphasize. The least difficult of those three, is fulfilling an approved volunteer work load of just 24 hours out of an entire month. The hardest, is doing at least 20 hours of on the job work per week. Hey, only volunteering 24 hours per month is a seriously good deal to receive hundreds of dollars of free food. The average SNAP monthly benefit is approximately $477.88 per month for a four person household size. In most cases it’s even more. For 24 hours of volunteering, that’s making about $19.91 per hour. Nice!
In Maine, 9,000 so-called able-bodied people who are too poor to feed themselves couldn’t handle that. Even more of a drastic measure, people in Maine who lose their benefits in such a manner can’t regain assistance for three years.
It is not clear if 'able-bodied people' includes mentally or emotionally challenged people. I would hope they fall under the 'disabled' category, but many such people have probably never been diagnosed. Who can afford to see a doctor in the US?
I like the concept of this program, but I'm concerned that many of the 9000 will fall through the cracks, and suffer unnecessarily. Without food stamps they are likely to eat less or poorer quality foods and require medical attention more than ever, but be even less able to afford it.
Maine should immediately commission a study to find out why those 9000 have refused; it might be very enlightening. It would also be nice to know what proportion of 'not disabled' food stamp recipients the 9000 represents.
Liberals have sold government dependence so deliberately well, that even doing 24 hours of approved volunteer work a month for a capable adult became too much for more than 9,000 people. If it seems like I’m parroting these numbers again and again, you must realize the implications are staggering. Who in their right mind would turn down such a deal? Actually wanting a member of society to be productive in some reasonable way shouldn’t be too hard to meet!
Maine’s State Rep. Scott Hamann (D) has introduced a bill that would direct the administration to seek a waiver for certain counties with high unemployment or a lack of jobs… but wait one damned minute! That is what doing approved volunteer work is all about. If the jobs or training programs simply aren’t there because the economy is a superior mess, then why is it too hard to do 24 hours of volunteer work per freaking month?
LePage’s administration probably won’t support Hamann’s legislation, and with good reason. There should be plenty of volunteer community work in even the most economically depressed regions. Either the Liberals have truly brain washed the voting masses into droning zombies, or they’re really not that needy for food. Either way, the taxpayers who do have to work their butts off won’t have to support such mediocrity any longer.