Sam Brownback Signs Legislation Restricting How Welfare Recipients Can Spend Money

by | April 16, 2015

By Bryan Lowry

Gov. Sam Brownback will sign a welfare reform bill that has gained national attention Thursday morning at the Department for Children and Families service center in Topeka.

HB 2258 will restrict where welfare recipients can spend their benefits money and limit the amount of benefits money they can withdraw from the ATM to $25 each day.

Kansas is not the first state to limit where welfare recipients can spend the money, but the restrictions would be arguably the most extensive, including swimming pools, massage parlors, cruise ships, lingerie shops and many other locations. DCF said recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families will still be able to spend their benefits money on guns.

Democrats have said some of the bill's provisions are mean-spirited. But Republican supporters say the bill is designed to ensure responsible use of benefits money and to encourage people on welfare to return to the workforce.

The bill also enshrines in law several policies enacted during Brownback's first term, such as a requirement that able-bodied adults receiving welfare benefits work a minimum of 20 hours a week or participate in a job training program. Signing these policies into law means that they will continue after Brownback leaves office.

The bill establishes a lifetime limit of 36 months for which a person can receive TANF money, compared with the federal limit of five years. It institutes a lifetime ban from receiving TANF money for any adult living in a household where benefits fraud is committed. People convicted of two drug felonies will also be banned for life from receiving food assistance.

(c)2015 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)