State Rep. Kim LaSata has introduced legislation restoring the work requirements for childless, able-bodied adults who receive food stamps.
LaSata, of Bainbridge Township, said Michigan has not enforced a statewide work requirement for food stamp recipients for more than 15 years. With the state’s continuing economic recovery and availability of jobs, LaSata said it’s time to require able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 49 without children to work for at least 20 hours a week to maintain eligibility for benefits.
“Fifteen years is enough,” LaSata said. “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 single mothers receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families have a work stipulation that takes them out of their homes for 120 hours a month. Michigan is one of only eight states that do not have a statewide work requirement. Currently work is a stipulation of food-stamp use in Oakland, Washtenaw, Kent and Ottawa counties.
LaSata said approval of the work requirement will not only end a program that traps people in dependency on public assistance, it also promises to save some of the $500 million the state spends annually on the 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.
The legislation is House Bill 5386.