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West Virginia Says Homeless Will Still Be Required To Work For Welfare

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Homeless persons in West Virginia will not automatically be exempt from work requirements to receive food stamps and other welfare, a state official told the West Virginia Gazette.

As states around the country reinstate work requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, or food stamps, West Virginia will institute a policy to determine eligibility for homeless people on a case-by-case basis.

More than 43 million people are still on food stamps, but that number is dropping as states reinstate the work requirements, which the Obama administration allowed states to waive as part of the 2009 stimulus. (RELATED: 7 More States Are Ready To Cut Special Post-Recession Food Stamp Program)

“Chronic homelessness, by itself, is not an exemption to the [able-bodied adults without dependents] work requirements, but may be a result of a potential mental or physical condition which renders the individual unfit for work,” the West Virginia policy will say.

A person considered chronically homeless, or lacking consistent living accommodation for more than 90 days, may be required to prove they are working or training to work more than 20 hours per week in order to receive food stamps. The state may waive the work requirement for a homeless person who “has obvious physical or mental conditions that would prevent the individual from working,” but will determine that for each individual welfare application.

West Virginia will begin the new policy Oct. 1.  West Virginia announced last year that they would be ending the work requirement waivers, and now now Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and New Jersey, are also ending the program earlier than required.

When Kansas reinstated work requirements in 2013, 60 percent of able-bodied adults removed from food stamps found work within a year, the Foundation for Government Accountability found in a February report. (RELATED: Report: Welfare Fails When Recipients Aren’t Required To Work)

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