Indiana To Cut Off Food Stamps For Workers After 3 Months, Waves Away Aid From Feds

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Starting next year, Indiana is set to eliminate food stamp benefits for tens of thousands of people who either cannot get a job or refuse to attend job training, The Indianapolis Star reports.

If able-bodied adults without children do not find work or participate in a 20-hour-a-week job training program, benefits will be strictly limited to a three-month period. Workers usually receive $131 a month from the food stamp program.

The time limit is normally listed as a necessary condition to receiving benefit money. Most states qualify to waive the requirement, but although Indiana is a state that similarly qualifies, they have decided that time-limits are a useful tool to keep around. In the rest of the country, 28 other states are taking advantage of waiver for the entire fiscal year, while 14 only rely on the waiver for part of the year.

“We view…time-limited benefits in Indiana as an opportunity to help improve the skills of our fellow Hoosiers and advance their prospects for meaningful employment, while at the same time establishing a pool of better-prepared candidates for the Indiana workforce,” Lance Rhodes, director of the division of family resources for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, wrote in a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Already, the state is on its way to economic recovery. Since 2009, the state unemployment rate has shrunk from 10 percent to 5.8 percent.

In the meantime, opponents are upset that the 65,000 out of 877,000 workers affected by the upcoming policy switch will have nowhere else to turn. Advocates of the poor instead prefer for new programs to be in place for these workers to fall back on, come next spring. “Let’s figure out what the goals are for these able-bodied adults without dependents, and then let’s build a program that meets those goals,” said Jessica Fraser, program manager for the Indiana Institute for Working Families. “That seems to make a little more sense to me.”

The time-limit requirement is expected to take effect next year sometime in March, April or May.

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