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Culture Beat / April 26, 2016

Shrinking the Swelling Food Stamp Horde Is a SNAP

Incentivizing work and saving taxpayers money.

A new report from The Foundation for Government Accountability, “The Power of Work — How Kansas’ Welfare Reform is Lifting Americans Out of Poverty,” provides a powerful model for how government officials can both motivate food stamps recipients to find work and save taxpayers money. The report’s author, Jonathan Ingram, says, “In 2013, Kansas bucked the welfare-expansion trend and implemented common-sense work requirements and time limits for able-bodied adults without dependents on food stamps.”

These reforms had an immediate and profound impact. A few examples, via the report: “Since implementing work requirements and time limits, the number of able-bodied adults on food stamps has dropped by 75 percent. These reforms immediately freed nearly 13,000 Kansans from welfare on December 31, 2013. Nearly 60 percent of those leaving food stamps found employment within 12 months and their incomes rose by an average of 127 percent per year. … The data shows that the less time these able-bodied adults spend on welfare, the quicker they can get back into the workforce once they are freed from welfare and the more money they will make. These Kansans are discovering new lives of independence and self-sufficiency that, in some cases, they haven’t known for more than two decades.”

A similar impact was seen in the state of Maine. As The Daily Signal’s Rachel Sheffield and Elmore Wallace write, “Providing assistance to help those in need does not have to be a one-way handout. According to a Heritage Foundation survey, Americans overwhelmingly agree that able-bodied adults receiving welfare should work. However, very few of the federal government’s 80 means-tested welfare programs require recipients to work for benefits. One of the best ways to ensure that welfare does not become a trap is to initiate reform based on the principles of work and personal responsibility.” Memo to other states looking to reform welfare? SNAP to it!

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