Federal regulators have approved Ohio’s plant to boost the number of welfare recipients who work or are in job-training programs. The state has until next September to meet federal stipulations that at least half of all adults and 90 percent of people in two-parent households who draw public assistance meet work requirements, according to the Columbus Dispatch
As of this September, only 33 percent of welfare recipients met work rules. Retooling the rules will help the state avoid more than $130 million in federal fines for missing the targets since 2007.
The new plan will require welfare applicants to complete a self-sufficiency assessment before receiving a first check; will hire more hearing officers to speed reviews for people who lose benefits for failing to work; create a new Web-based system to log recipients’ work or training; and provide $10 a month in food stamps to the state’s working-poor families to allow them to be included in the state’s work-participation rate.
“We have developed a cost-effective plan that will help those we serve find work and become self-sufficient,” said Michael Colbert, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Critics of the last part of the plan, however, say the state is padding its rolls with working families while throwing other people off welfare, which won’t help Ohio’s poor become self-sufficient.
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