Politics

Maine's Food Stamp Enrollment Drops Following New Legislation Requiring Recipients To Work

| by Jonathan Constante

Maine’s Gov. Paul LePage has instituted a new requirement for Maine’s food-stamp program, and the reviews are mixed.

The legislation states: “With certain exceptions, able-bodied adults between 16 and 60 years of age must register for work, accept an offer of suitable work, and take part in an employment and training program to which they are referred by (the Office for Family Independence).”

Food-stamp numbers in Maine have been steadily increasing over the past few years up until now. In 2011, The Huffington Post reported that Maine was among the top 10 states in the country when it came to food-stamp usage, with a staggering 18.6 percent of its 1,328,361 population receiving assistance.

Now, the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that Maine’s food-stamp enrollment has dropped by 14.7 percent from July of 2013 to July of 2014. Only seven other states have seen a greater decrease during that time period: Idaho, Missouri, Vermont, New Hampshire, Kansas, Wyoming and Minnesota.

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Many are attributing the sudden decrease to Governor LePaul’s new legislation, which he instituted after a federal waiver expired earlier this year.

Many are concerned with the new work requirement considering that unemployment is still high in a lot of areas and jobs are scarce, while others thought it was a good idea to make able-bodied adults work or volunteer for taxpayer-funded benefits. The debate continues.

Sources: IJReview, KFF, The Huffington Post, Maine.gov