AUGUSTA – Should there be a limit on how long a person receives welfare benefits in Maine?
A state senator from Auburn wants to place limits on general assistance payments as well as “Temporary Aid for Needy Families.”
Senator Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, said “This is not supposed to be something that people are on year after year.”
This bill got a public hearing Monday, less than two weeks after Governor Paul LePage unveiled his administration’s proposed welfare reforms.
Senator Brakey added “A lot of the reforms in Governor LePage’s welfare proposal, I don’t think address the general assistance so much.” Brakey did say, however, his proposal complements the governor’s plan. In fact, the senator echoed the governor’s sentiments.
Governor LePage stated “An able-bodied 30-year-old man without kids should not be able to collect food stamps without either working, going to school or volunteering.”
“Time limits are very important because it really emphasizes for able-bodied adults, we expect you to be contributing. We expect you to get out and work.” said senator Brakey.
This is the second time Brakey has attempted to push through this legislation. He’s proposing a nine-month time limit for general assistance. He also wants to stop people from jumping from one welfare benefit to another after they’ve hit a time limit restriction.
Welfare is a heavily debated topic this legislative session. Among the other bills being discussed is one that would determine which municipality is responsible to pay general assistance for a person upon their release from jail or prison.