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West Virginia SNAP work policies debated


The Herald-Dispatch

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill that would impose a work requirement to be eligible to receive public assistance is being criticized as harmful to West Virginia’s poor as well as local businesses, but lawmakers proposing the bill say the goal is to make sure the benefits are being used by those who really need them.

House Bill 4001 would implement work requirements for recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits ages 18 to 49 without dependents in counties where the 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.

The bill also requires DHHR to conduct an asset test on all members of the applicant’s household to determine eligibility. The bill outlines a number of different databases and avenues DHHR should use to determine a person’s assets. The bill uses federal code to determine what an allowable asset for eligibility is.

Lead sponsor of the bill, Del. Tom Fast, R-Fayette, said the purpose of the asset check is to weed out those who do not truly need assistance.

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