BY: Citizens Count
Next Tuesday, March 6 the New Hampshire House will vote on a bill that would add new work requirements for some welfare programs.
The bill, HB 1804, would prohibit the state from waiving work requirements for anyone receiving food stamps or participating in the New Hampshire Employment Program. That program provides job training and help with other obstacles to employment, such as child care and transportation.
Current waivers for work requirements
Right now the state waives food stamp work requirements in thirteen towns that have high unemployment. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), about ten individuals in those towns are receiving food stamps without working.
The New Hampshire Employment Program imposes a penalty on anyone receiving benefits and not working. Under HB 1804, DHHS would instead completely end benefits for those individuals. As of last fall, 101 individuals in the program did not meet work requirements.
Arguments for and against HB 1804
Bill supporters argue that given limited funding for various welfare programs, New Hampshire needs to ensure that everyone receiving benefits is following the rules and working their way towards financial independence.
Bill opponents note that if New Hampshire cuts off state assistance for some recipients, those individuals are likely to seek help from their town welfare offices, increasing the financial burden for local government. Changing work requirements would also require permission from the federal government, which could put federal funding for these programs in jeopardy.
Do you support HB 1804? Share your opinion in the comments below.