Missouri senate considering work requirements for government benefits

Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Missouri, USA

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – For years the Missouri legislation has looked at enforcing work requirements for residents that receive government benefits and this might just be the year for it to pass the senate.

Senator David Sater (R-District 29), on Wednesday, presented his second piece of legislation that would enforce a requirement for residents that receive government benefits.   This version of Senator Sater’s legislation intends to require able-bodied Missouri Health Net participants to work 80 hours per month of any combination of specified work, education, child care and volunteer services.

This new bill comes just weeks after Sen. Sater proposed legislation that would require Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, recipients to work a 20 hour per week minimum.

The senator believes that work requirement will lift low-income residents out of poverty and government dependency.

“Any social welfare program, in my opinion, that does not have as a stated goal to move able-bodied people from welfare to work is failing in its purpose and is actually doing more harm by trapping people in a cycle of government.”  Sater said.

Those in opposition to SB76 contend that Medicaid, unlike TANF and SNAP, will not allow states to impose long-standing work requirements.  They also shared their concern that work requirements could only be applied to low-income families.

The the hearing on the bill continues next week in the Seniors, Families and Children Committee.

Information from the Missouri School of Journalism contributed to this report

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