West Virginia governor signs food stamp bill adding work requirement


CHARLESTON, WV – West Virginia’s governor has signed a bill to impose the federal 20-hour weekly work requirement for many food stamp recipients statewide.

Gov. Jim Justice signed the bill Tuesday, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

It applies to people ages 18 to 49 who aren’t pregnant, disabled or military veterans, have no dependents and receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

Currently, 46 of West Virginia’s 55 counties have the work requirement waivers.

The maximum possible benefit is $192 a month or about $6.40 a day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Advocates say it will help eliminate fraud and get people back to work, even if only volunteer work.

Opponents say it will push struggling poor people out of the food stamps program, cut federal funding and grocery spending in West Virginia and increase demand on its food pantries.

They say that was the main effect of a nine-county pilot program.

On Oct. 1, waivers from the requirement would be sought only in counties with 12-month average unemployment rate above 10 percent. January data showed only Calhoun County with a monthly rate that high. All counties would become ineligible three years later.

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