Kansas Governor Urges Other States to Require Work for Food Stamps

by | September 1, 2015

By Edward M. Eveld

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says it's time for other states to follow Kansas' lead and reinstate work and job training requirements for food assistance.

In an op-ed Sunday in The Washington Times, Brownback and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez urged states not to renew their waivers of such work requirements for able-bodied adults who don't have dependent children.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been authorized since 1996 to grant work waivers for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP or food stamps, in areas of high unemployment. States were allowed to do so in response to the Great Recession.

"The personal toll of welfare dependency is a major reason work requirements are so important," the Republican governors wrote. "We know that work helps people beyond just financial security; it also improves their sense of worth, dignity and even their physical health."

Without the requirements in many states -- generally that recipients work at least 20 hours a week or enroll in a job training program -- the cost of federal food assistance costs has skyrocketed, they said.

"The states that have reinstated their work requirements, such as Kansas and Maine, are already seeing very positive results," Brownback and Martinez wrote, noting that Indiana and New Mexico are making the same move. Kansas and Maine, they wrote, "saw a substantial drop in their unemployment rates after restoring their work requirements, and charity organizations in Maine are enjoying extremely high levels of volunteerism."

(c)2015 The Kansas City Star