Food stamp reform to require adults to work

OKLAHOMA CITY – A new food stamp reform bill signed into law now requires at least 20 hours of work activity for able-bodied adults to receive food stamps.

Governor Mary Fallin signed House Speaker T.W. Shannon’s major welfare reform initiative into law.

House Bill 1909 would require able able-bodied individuals, ages 18 to 50 who are not disabled or raising a child, to perform at least 20 hours of work activities as a condition of receiving food stamps.

MORE: Scroll down to watch what DHS had to say about new law.

These work requirements come from the 1996 Welfare Reform Law.

Currently, able-bodied individuals do not have to fulfill work requirements due to waivers handed out by the federal government.

This bill will prohibit DHS from seeking those work requirement waivers.

“Unfortunately, some believe compassion is measured by how many people you can keep on a government aid program,” Speaker Shannon, R-Lawton, said. “We must change the paradigm to how many people we can get off government assistance. We must encourage able-bodied people to break their addiction to government subsidies and gain self-sufficiency.

Under federal law, unemployed individuals are able to receive food stamps for up to 90 days.

After 90 days, these able-bodied persons must fulfill the 20 hour work requirement to continue to receive food stamp benefits.

“Through personal responsibility, hard work and a drive to better one’s situation, people can establish their independence and begin down the road of prosperity,” he said.

HB 1909 will go into effect Nov. 1.

Dept. of Human Services on changes to SNAP

To get more insight into hose the SNAP food stamp program operates in Oklahoma and the potential impact of this law, DHS stopped by to explain.