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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Will work for food

The federal SNAP (i.e., "food stamp program") requires what is referred too as "workfare" --meaning recipients have to get job training or show proof they are looking for a job to qualify -- but states have been givendiscretion to grant exemptions for any number of reasons. Until now, Indiana has been pretty generous with the exemptions. No more:

Now, as of 2015, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration has announced that the work requirements in SNAP will be more strictly enforced, meaning that as many as 65,000 recipients may be cut off.

Indiana's new mandate maintains that, "any able-bodied Indiana adult without children will need to be working at least 20 hours a week, be in job training, or searching for employment in order to qualify."

The rules change will allow recipients to work up to 20 hours a week and still be eligible for the assistance.

I know some people will object to this on humanitarian or sensitivity grounds, but it seems perfectly reasonable to me. You want help, put a little effort into it. And please note we are not talking about starving babies or kicking cripples around here -- the new rules will apply only to "able-bodied adults without children."

Full disclosure. My childhood was before the food stamp era, but back then where was a "surplus food" program in which those who cqualified could go to a distribution center and get stuff like cheese and flour and powdered milk that was classified as "agricultural surplus." Our family qualified and, truth be told, there was no work requirement. But you did have to go the center and wait in line, which was time-consuming but not as humiliating as it could have been since just about everybody around us was in pretty much the same circumstances. It was embarrassing enough, though, to give people an incentive to get off the eligibility rolls as quickly as they could.