They’re bringing back the 90’s in North Carolina!
No, they aren’t sporting “Rachel” haircuts or flocking to concerts by grunge bands.
Instead, North Carolina has reinstated Clinton-era style “workfare,” a program that requires recipients of public assistance to earn their benefits.
Beginning in January, North Carolinians who receive food stamps must get at least a part-time job, begin training for a new career, or perform volunteer service in order to continue in the food assistance program. Only “able-bodied” childless recipients between 18 and 49 years of age will have to meet that requirement. As a result, the new policy impacts only a fraction of current food aid recipients. In one rural county just 2,800 of the 45,000 beneficiaries are subject to the new rules.
Recipients will have three months to meet the new requirements of risk losing the benefit for three years. Other provisions allow the state to suspend benefits if a recipient isn’t working at least 20 hours or trying hard enough to get a job.
The new policy is actually a reinstatement of a 1996 federal law that was part of welfare reform. Its provisions were rescinded in 2008 because of the Great Recession.
I think this is a great idea, and I’d like to see more states adopt similar policies. This rule encourages work ethic without putting an undue burden on struggling parents, especially single moms, or the elderly. And that’s the way it should be. Since the days of the first colonies, we’ve been a society that expects everyone to pull their weight but has the compassion to help those in need. We got away from that for awhile. I’m glad we’re back on track, at least in the Tar Heel State.