President Donald Trump’s budget proposes implementing work requirements and some spending cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) better known as food stamps, a program which increased by 32 percent under President Barack Obama. In response Caitlin Dewey and Tracey Jan argue at the Washington Post’s Wonkblog that, “Trump’s plans to cut food stamps could hit his supporters hardest”. They make this assumption despite the 25 year track record of work requirements helping to move recipients out of poverty, while protecting the safety for those who needs help the most, and also saving taxpayers money.
Opportunity Lives has routinely highlighted the success work requirements have had on moving able bodied adults from government dependency to self-sufficiency.
“Not long ago, Jennifer Wright was among the approximately 50 million Americans living in poverty. By Census Bureau standards, that means she had annual income of less than $12,000 a year. (It’s roughly double for a family of four.) Jennifer, who asked that her real name not be used for this story, was trying to find work. But she was running into dead ends and felt she had no other option except to turn to the state for help.
Jennifer received the usual government assistance in the form of food stamps. But what makes her story unique is that she was also able to receive critical job training as part of a new initiative spearheaded by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.
Kansas now makes work a condition of receiving government aid. Jennifer says she did not expect much when attending her first informational meeting. But to her surprise, it was the start of a remarkable success story that led to full-time work.
Starting next week, Jennifer will join the staff of Generating Opportunities to Attain Lifelong Success, a pilot program of the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). The purpose of the program is to help low-income Kansans receiving food assistance receive the necessary job training to find work.
Jennifer’s story would not have been possible without the state’s laser-like focus emphasizing work, job training and even restrictions to government assistance.
Jennifer’s story would not have been possible without the state’s laser-like focus emphasizing work, job training and even restrictions to government assistance. Prior to this, just one in five able-bodied adults on welfare worked. Particularly sobering was that nearly 93 percent of the folks receiving food stamps were living in severe poverty. But since implementing the reforms beginning in 2013, Kansas has seen a remarkable 75 percent drop in the number of able-bodied adults on food stamps.
Jennifer is now among the thousands of Kansans that is slowly transition away from receiving food stamps thanks to the support of the Kansas Department for Children and Families.
Jennifer’s success story is just one among the more than 13,000 Kansans that have been able to free themselves from government dependence since 2013.”
Similar results have also been seen in Maine, where Governor Paul LePage also made work a requirement for welfare. Food stamps like other means tested welfare programs are not intended to become a permanent hand out but rather a hand up. Work requirements are also a key component of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R- Wis) “A Better Way” proposal aimed at lifting people out of poverty.