New law changes MO welfare benefits - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

New law changes MO welfare benefits

(Source: KFVS 12) (Source: KFVS 12)
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Last week, Governor Jay Nixon said "no," but on Tuesday, May 5 Missouri lawmakers said "yes" to welfare reform.

The Republican majority Senate and House voted to override the governor's veto meaning changes are coming to Missouri's welfare.

The new law creates tighter restrictions and reduces the lifetime limit for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cash-assistance program.

The new law will cut the lifetime limit in for benefits from 5 years to 3 years and 9 months.

It will also require those families receiving assistance to find work within six weeks after meeting with a social worker, or risk losing part of their benefits.

Supporters of the law say it will encourage people to get off welfare.

Others say it's not that simple.

The Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center in East Prairie works with individuals who are looking for jobs to advance their skills.

"People that we see come in here want to work,” Wesley, director Marsha Keene-Hutchason, said. “They want to get their education. They want to overcome obstacles that they have in their lives. But they have to have somewhere to go to work."

Republican State Senator Wayne Wallingford from Cape Girardeau voted in favor of the override.

"TANF and SNAP are meant to be temporary programs used by families who are having trouble making ends meet, but are trying to get back to self-sufficiency," Wallingford said in a statement to Heartland News. "These changes will help us ensure that we are accomplishing this goal, not encouraging dependency."

The new law will take effect January 1.

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