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New bill proposal aims to restore work requirement for able-bodied food stamp recipients in Michigan

Work may be paid or unpaid

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LANSING, Mich. – A new bill proposal would require able-bodied, childless adults between the ages to 18-49 to have a job in order to maintain food stamp benefits in Michigan.

Those adults would need to work at least 20 hours a week to remain eligible. 

State Rep. Kim LaSata, of Bainbridge Township, introduced the bill. She said that a statewide work requirement for food stamp recipients has not been enforced in more than 15 years.

"With our economy continuing to rebound and the amount of ‘help wanted’ signs in windows of businesses, there is no reason that these able-bodied adults should not find at least a part-time job, which could be the springboard to full employment," LaSata said.

Michigan is one of eight states that do not have a statewide work requirement. Work is a stipulation of food stamp use in Oakland, Washtenaw, Kent and Ottawa counties.

LaSata said the work requirement would end a program that traps people in dependency on public assistance. She said it also promises to save some of the $500 million the state spends annually on benefits.

The work could be paid or unpaid, with the state deciding what type of unpaid work counts toward the required hours.

The bill was referred to the House Appropriations Committee.


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