Ky. House Speaker wants added guidelines for food stamp recipients

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Legislation has been introduced in the Kentucky House that would add a community engagement requirement for food stamp recipients, similar to the Medicaid waiver obtained by Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration.


House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, is sponsor of the bill.  “It just says that able-bodied adults have to at least be looking for a job, to continue receiving that assistance.”


He notes that Kentucky has a high distribution rate of one type of federal funding in the country.


“It’s to provide funds for people trying to transition into the workforce and we give more cash payments than any other state,” he said.  “I think there are so many ways we can help people transition into the workforce than that are more efficient than just giving checks.”


That includes providing childcare and healthcare assistance, according to Osborne.  “Things like that make it easier for people to cycle off public assistance.”


The goal is to increase workforce participation in Kentucky, Osborne said.  “We have one of the lowest workforce participation rates in the country, even though our workforce participation grew over the last year at one of the fastest rates in the country.  There are some creative things we can do to help people get back into the workforce, to stop penalizing people for going back to work.” 


Provisions of the bill include performing 80 hours per month of community engagement, which includes participating in training education and employment for able-bided adults between the ages of 19 and 64.


There are those who would receive exemptions from the requirement.  They include:


--Former foster care youth.


--Pregnant women.


--Beneficiaries considered medically frail. 


--Beneficiaries diagnosed with an acute medical condition that would prevent them from complying with the requirements.


--Full-time students.


The bill has been referred to the House Health and Family Services Committee, but has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.


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The legislation is House Bill 3

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