Bill would add work requirements for food stamps recipients

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – One New Mexico senator is tired of giving something for nothing. He wants a new state law so that if New Mexicans want to get food stamps, they have to work for it.

Sen. Pat Woods (R) from Broadview in Curry County, says if people are getting help from the state they should be working towards getting off the assistance as well.

It’s an issue familiar to New Mexicans. Back in 2015, the Governor’s office announced those able-bodied people without dependents receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Benefits (SNAP) would have to show they work at least 80 hours a month in an approved work activity.

It was a change that affected about 11,000 people in New Mexico. However, the move came under fire and eventually, a federal court issued an injunction halting the changes.

Now Sen. Woods is proposing a bill that would require people on SNAP benefits to work, volunteer, or get job training for at least 20 hours a week.

“I have a lot of employers asking me for workers, they need people to go to work and I think it’s time to get people in the workforce,” Sen. Woods said.

According to a report, if the bill passes the Human Services Department would spend an estimated $2.4 million to make sure those receiving SNAP benefits are working or looking for work. As it did before, this would only apply to able-bodied people without dependents.

The state reports more than 500,000 people in total were helped by the SNAP program in New Mexico last year.

Another senator is looking to change the SNAP program, too. Sen. Cliff Pirtle wants to keep people receiving SNAP benefits from using the money on junk food.

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