Judge: NM can’t require proof of work for food benefits

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SANTA FE (AP) – A federal court has issued an injunction that prevents New Mexico from enforcing work requirement rules for certain residents who receive government food assistance.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Gonzales and federal Magistrate Judge Carmen Garza ruled this week in favor of advocates who had challenged the rules. The injunction will last until Dec. 31.

State Human Services Department spokesman Kyler Nerison says the department disagrees with the ruling.

The agency provides food benefits to more than 500,000 residents. Nearly 4 percent of them would have been affected.

Under the rules, most childless adults without disabilities and between the ages of 18 to 49 who receive benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would have had to spend 80 hours a month in an approved work activity or training program to continue receiving benefits.

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