LePage: Maine's Able-Bodied Food Stamp Recipients Must Work

Jul 23, 2014

The LePage administration says it will require able-bodied adult food stamp recipients with no dependents to work, volunteer or enter a job training program in order to continue to receive benefits. Recipients will have three months to comply, says Gov. Paul LePage.

"People who are in need deserve a hand up, but we should not be giving able-bodied individuals a handout,'' LePage says, in a statement. "We must continue to do all that we can to eliminate generational poverty and get people back to work. We must protect our limited resources for those who are truly in need and who are doing all they can to be self-sufficient."

The governor says about 12,000 adults in the food supplement program are considered "able-bodied." He says the group receives about $15 million a year in food stamp benefits.

The rule change requires able-bodied adults ages 18 to 49  to work a minimum of 20 hours a week, or volunteer for a community agency for a number of hours based on the value of their food stamp benefits. LePage says they can also meet the requirement by participating in the Maine Department of Labor's Competitive Skills Scholarship Program, which he says is geared toward helping people gain job skills.

The rule change requires a public hearing, and must go through the rule-making process. It's scheduled to go into effect Oct. 1.