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West Virginia House panel amends, backs SNAP bill

By TAYLOR STUCK

The Herald-Dispatch

CHARLESTON, W.Va.  — After a public hearing where the majority of speakers opposed the bill, the House Judiciary Committee amended a bill that would impose work requirements to be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

House Bill 4001 would implement work requirements for recipients of SNAP benefits ages 18 to 49 without dependents in counties where the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources deems there to be sufficient opportunities for work or volunteerism.

Recipients would need to work at least 20 hours a week, participate in a work program or do certified volunteer work.

Monday, the Judiciary Committee amended the bill to add exemptions to the work requirement for pregnant women, those caring for the elderly and, after some debate, veterans. It also clarified an exemption for those in care of a minor, whether they are an official dependent or not.

The committee amendment also removed the requirement of an asset test by DHHR, though a representative from the department said it already performs asset tests required by federal regulation. The department also will continue the process of contracting a third-party to perform these asset tests regardless whether HB 4001 becomes law, in order to come into compliance with federal regulations regarding Medicaid. That contract, which was approved Monday during the hearing, will cost $1.5 million a year for three years.

Read the entire article: http://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/house-panel-amends-backs-snap-bill/article_337a46a0-bc5f-5430-a173-375fc0496241.html

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