W.Va. House approves requirement to work for welfare benefits - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

W.Va. House approves requirement to work for welfare benefits

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WVVA) Thousands of West Virginians could soon have to work to receive food stamps. 

A bill that passed in the House of Delegates on Tuesday mandates  those receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) be required to volunteer or work 20-hours a week. The bill applies only to able bodied individuals between the ages of 18 and 49, who are not disabled, military veterans, or have dependent children. 

"Work is a great motivator. It keeps people out of trouble. I think it's a wonderful thing that there are work requirements," said Del. Marty Gearheart, (R) Mercer County, who supported the bill.  

Meanwhile, Del. Ed Evans, (D) McDowell, raised issue with the legislation, saying it hurts counties that don't have the jobs available.

"The governor commissioned a study in 2009. It studied nine different counties with able-bodied workers. There were nearly 14,000 referred to jobs but only 250 actually got a job. If there's work in some places but not here, what chance does an able-bodied person actually have to get that job?" 

The bill passed by a vote of 79-14. It now heads to the Senate for  consideration. 

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