South Carolina could be taking a major step in preventing food stamp abuse by requiring recipients to prove they’re actively looking for work. Gov. Nikki Haley confirmed last Friday that the S.C. Department of Social Services will seek a federal waiver for a pilot project that would require many food-stamp recipients in Bamberg, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties to prove they either have jobs or are looking for employment. The “SNAP Work 2 Health” waiver is being pushed on the basis that long-term food stamp recipients are more prone to obesity.
The waiver cited the food stamp and obesity statistics from an Ohio State University study. “Research shows a strong correlation between unemployment and obesity and other significant health conditions,” said Social Services in a news release. “The research also shows that SNAP recipients are more likely to become less healthy the longer they receive SNAP benefits.”
Last month, Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee introduced a bill that would restore the work requirements for welfare that President Obama suspended in 2009. His “Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act” will require able-bodied adults without dependents to work 36 hours per month, or 72 hours per month for those with dependents. The bill will also require states to report all means-tested welfare spending and comply with performance measures.
“Poverty is not just the absence of money, but also the absence of opportunity,” said Lee. “Today’s poverty programs place artificial restraints on those who are trying to get ahead, build careers and provide better lives for themselves and their families. Successful welfare programs are those that make poverty more temporary, not more tolerable.”
In January, Ohio also adopted measures to strip 10,000 state residents of their food stamps for not working.