LePage: “Able Bodied” Food Stamp Recipients Must Work

Updated 6 months ago

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – Maine Gov. Paul LePage wants to require food stamp recipients to work while receiving benefits.

The Republican governor’s administration said Wednesday that Maine will no longer pursue a waiver from the federal government that allows recipients in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to receive ongoing benefits without having a job.

Recipients between ages 18 and 49 would have to work at least 20 hours a week, volunteer or participate in a work-training program. People living with dependents and those who are pregnant or are disabled would be exempt.

The Department of Health and Human Services says that about 12,000 people would be impacted by the requirement. Spokesman John Martins says Maine has used the waiver since 2010.

The change must go through the rule-making process.

  • guest

    Thank Lepage! Tired of working for people that just don’t work for the sake of being lazy!

    • Mark Breidt

      your not working for people that don’t want to work. the federal government puts more into the food stamps program then the state does. you need to get our government to do required drug testing on recipients and household members. that’s where we would save

      • Riot207

        Would cost the state too much money, take florida for example, google it read the numbers and it wouldn’t work for this state.

      • LeftFeather

        Where the heck do you think the federal gov’t gets its money????

        It is unequivocally certain that everyone that works, is working for those that don’t want to.

  • bocwheel

    was not Lepage Governor in 2010 when they ask the Fed’s to allow this in the first place now at election time he wants to look tuff smh

  • fiscalconsoclib

    Sounds like Bradford may go hungry

  • jobless

    wow im so glad people judge and find the humor on this topic!!! makes me sick!!! might be lots of jobs around but im guessing a lot of people apply for one position so where does that leave the people that don’t get hired…ive tried for 2 months with no luck, and yes ive been willing to work and shift…this state is a mess just like our country SMH

    • barker13

      VOLUNTEER if not paid… OMG free food???? when you are capable is not ok!!!

    • George Davis

      Pick up cans, volunteer, and ask neighbors can you do odds and end work. That what I did when I was laid off for a year. And I know others who did similar.

    • LeftFeather

      Don’t make excuses.
      I know it’s easy to become discouraged, but that will only make your situation worse.
      I lost my job shortly after the economy tanked. For months I could not find work and lived off savings last pay.
      Finally,I decided since I couldn’t get a job, I would work for myself. So I did.
      I did that for about a year and with my line if work, even charging up to $150 / hr, I still couldn’t quite get ahead. After all expenses,I was averaging $10 / hr.
      Not enough to thrive on with a family, but I did it.
      I eventually started working for another company making considerably more .

      Point is, nobody is going to pave your road for you; you and you alone are the only one that can. Have faith in yourself.

  • Mark Breidt

    lepage is trying to good now because in 2010 when he asked for this he wasn’t up for reelection. so of course he is a typical politiucian looking out for whats good for him and no one else

  • Mark Breidt

    why don’t he push the federal government for required drug testing for recipeients. that’s what would be best. any household member 18 years of age and older receiving food stamps should be tested. if the household is able to buy drugs they don’t need those food stamps

    • mopsyd

      You know, they tried that in Florida. It cost the state several hundred thousand dollars, and they caught about four people. Great savings there, I’d say.

  • Babyfacebeauty95

    Not everybody just sits around and does nothing. For instance, I am a
    college student looking for employment but haven’t been successful at
    reaching that goal. I’m not saying that a large majority of the people
    are not abusing the system, but when it comes to the disabled part of
    things i think there should be a certain disabilities that are
    exempt…. people that get social security for mental illness such as
    bipolar or depression should not be exempt. There are an EXTREME amount
    of able bodied people around here that don’t want to work so they go out
    and get doctors to sign off and say that they cant work when its all
    about being able to control yourself. There isn’t anybody that is
    incapable of controlling themselves with those mental illnesses for at
    least 6 hours out of the day. Disabilities such as schizophrenia, PTSD,
    amputees, or the elderly, should be the people that are exempt. There
    are people out there that are not proud to have to utilize the benefits,
    but use them because they have no other way to nourish themselves. I
    think if candy, soda, ice cream, and all the other junk food wasn’t able
    to be bought with the card, some things would be simpler. I mean They
    are known as “Food Stamps” not candy, cookie and ice cream stamps. It
    would be understandable if an individual was diabetic or had
    hypoglycemia. So many people go out and waste their benefits on junk
    food instead of using them for actual food. Drug testing might be a good
    idea for this issue, because as Mark said… if a person has money to
    go out and buy a whole bunch of drugs, they shouldn’t be on food stamps.

    • Ashilee33

      Hence the “able bodied” part….

  • bob

    I think that the drug testing should be mandatory i deliver oil in the winter and you could not gues the amount of people that abuse the heap and thaw programs. The problem with this state and country is that there is no PRIDE left

    • LeftFeather

      I agree Bob!!

  • justsaying

    My man and i have 3 children, one vehicle. It only makes since to have one of us work and allow the children to be with other parent. Cant trust anyone with children anymore.

    • George Davis

      You should only have that choice when you can afforded to provide for your family independent of welfare.

      • Ashilee33

        I agree with George. Childcare is expensive, but background checks and facilities with good reputations are out there. We both work and our little boy goes to daycare. Great reputation there and it does wonders for his social skills as an only child (for now). I don’t take benefits because I can make arrangements not to.

  • Julian Dimitri Cross

    Well this sucks. Some people who have a job don’t get 20 hours a week. Jobs don’t grow on trees and you aren’t solving a job or so called “laziness” problem by preventing people who seriously need this program from getting it because they can’t find any work. That’s not to say that I don’t understand that some people abuse the system, but there has to be a better way, this just sounds like elitistist bullcrap

    • LeftFeather

      There are literally thousands of jobs available in this state.
      Many thousands one could peruse online; numerous other jobs available off the street.

      I pass hundreds of businesses throughout my travels with ‘ help wanted ‘ signs. The jobs are there.. People have a hard time either starting at the bottom again, or starting at the bottom to begin with.

      If you are truly in desperate seek of work, you will know that no job is beneath you and you’ll be rewarded with faster employment opportunities.

      There’s nothing ‘ elitist ‘ about having a backbone.

    • Ashilee33

      “… volunteer or participate in a work-training program.” A direct quote from the article.

  • George Davis

    I wouldn’t be so quick to exempt anyone! If they have dependents at home they can still work or volunteer. Don’t most working taxpayers? Unless they are taking care of someone with special disabilities, put them to work!!

    • guest


  • mike

    The real story here is the other 180,000 or so that get up for work and still cant afford to feed themselves..they probably work at walmart…congratulations maine, youve saved the average tax payer a few dollars a year.

    • LeftFeather

      In no way does it ‘ offend’ either the state nor national constitution!!

      There are exactly zero clauses and zero amendments that even mention social welfare. That’s because it’s socialism. Our founding documents are written to provoke a capitalist democratic republic… a free market and a free world.

      Social welfare is a relatively ‘ new’ concept having been officially contrived and implemented in the early 20th century.

      Social welfare was never before conceived because family and neighbors actually cared about each other back then. Today, it’s becoming increasingly less likely that family and neighbors even coexist beyond the realms of electronic computing and internetworking on their various computing devices.

    • Ashilee33

      If I have to pass a drug test to earn the money, anyone receiving the benefits that I HELPED PAY FOR should have to take a drug test to get the money. I get that it’s expensive, and maybe the cost outweighs the benefits. But your comment about the consitituation rubbed me the wrong way.

  • guest

    I personally think it is a good idea! I work 40 hours a week and can’t get any sort of help. I barely make ends meet but I get up and go to work every day. It is discouraging. I work in a supermarket and I see this being abused day after day. People purchasing lobster, steaks, chips, soda, sweets etc. etc. and I go some weeks where I can’t even purchase any groceries. Very frustrating. And I know many of these people are quite capable of working. I understand that there are some out there who truly try and we can’t judge everyone but there has to be a fine line somewhere. Also, yes, if Maine paid better wages and wasn’t taxing everything to death more people, including myself, would be able to manage better. I am afraid it isn’t going to get any better at this point with our government. Just keep plugging along!