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Senate passes invoice increasing work necessities for SNAP advantages

CHARLESTON — Senators handed a invoice that may increase necessities for work or employment coaching for able-bodied adults with out dependents for advantages by means of the Supplemental Diet Help Program.

The invoice handed on a 32-2 vote and now goes to the Home of Delegates.

SB 562 additionally extends the age vary for individuals affected to 59. The age vary for present procedures is from 18 to 52.

And the invoice would set up necessities to report details about how this system is working to a legislative oversight committee. There’s a three-year implementation schedule for the modifications.

“I’d describe this laws as a compassionately structured three-year plan designed to progressively wean able-bodied adults with out dependent kids off of SNAP advantages,” mentioned Sen. Rollan Roberts, R-Raleigh, chairman of the workforce committee.

“I remind this physique that SNAP stands for supplemental diet help program. We now have gotten right into a scenario through the years the place we’ve multi-generational dependency upon these advantages.”

Committee testimony indicated about 8,000 West Virginians may very well be affected by the modifications.

There have been some considerations about whether or not the state company that oversees SNAP can be stretched skinny whereas implementing the modifications as a result of it receives $622,000 a yr in federal funding for administrative prices.

And organizations like Mountaineer Meals Financial institution have questioned whether or not the invoice will lead to individuals locked into low-wage jobs to adjust to the necessities — whereas nonetheless depending on meals financial institution companies.

“Analysis in West Virginia and across the nation exhibits that taking meals help away from older individuals doesn’t enhance work. As a substitute, it makes individuals hungrier, harms our retailers and grocers and will increase the burden on our charitable meals sector,” mentioned Kelly Allen, government director of the progressive-leaning West Virginia Heart on Price range & Coverage.

“Lawmakers ought to deal with getting payments throughout the end line that enhance entry to little one care slightly than hurting older West Virginians.”

Roberts in his Senate ground remarks advised counties might use opioid settlement cash to assist individuals who is perhaps affected by SNAP modifications to efficiently full drug remedy packages to take part within the workforce.

“I’ll say additionally that retailers are in want of assist and employees, and plenty of of those individuals will be educated and get jobs with the retailers,” Roberts mentioned.

“Some have mentioned that this may harm or trigger extra of the necessity for the meals banks to offer them meals. I’d say this, they’ll maintain their advantages if they are going to volunteer
20 hours per week on the meals banks and assist us distribute the meals. There are a lot of alternatives that this invoice will assist put into motion.”

Sen. Mike Caputo, D-Marion, questioned why an estimate of the price of implementing the modifications has not been supplied. He proposed transferring the invoice again to the Senate Finance Committee till these solutions are clearer.

“Clearly one factor we all know is, there’s going to be an affect,” Caputo mentioned.

Finance Chairman Eric Tarr, R-Putnam, mentioned he was assured throughout prior committee testimony that any monetary affect can be negligible. He argued in opposition to recommitting the invoice to his committee, and senators voted down the movement to take action 32-2.

“The Finance chairman has thought-about it,” Tarr mentioned. “It doesn’t want to return to Finance.”