Our administration will start testing applicants for food stamps to determine if they have more than $5,000 in assets. It has just come to my attention that this is the federal law.
Dear Maine Taxpayer,
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program— which is called SNAP or food stamps—is for people who truly need a hand up.
If an able-bodied person has over $5,000 in assets, such as ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles or jet skis, then they must divest of these items before asking the taxpayers for assistance.
The asset test will apply only to households without children. It will apply to about 8,600 people on food stamps.
They will be required to disclose whether their assets exceed $5,000 in value. This asset test is a provision of federal law that Maine has waived in recent years.
Liberals have been spreading false information about what constitutes an asset. For the purpose of food stamps, assets do not include equity in a home or a household’s primary vehicle. They also do not include personal household items, furniture, TVs or washers and dryers.
However, assets do include the balance of bank accounts, snowmobiles, boats, motorcycles, jet skis, all-terrain vehicles, recreational vehicles, campers and other expensive luxury possessions.
The majority of Mainers agree that before someone gets taxpayer-funded welfare benefits, they should sell non-essential assets and use their savings.
Hard-working Mainers should not come home to see snowmobiles, four wheelers or jet skis in the yards of those who are getting welfare.
DHHS is constantly working to transform the welfare system from a culture of entitlement to one of self-reliance. Welfare should be a safety net, not a hammock to support expensive toys or non-essential assets.
When Mainers see some people using welfare benefits to keep boats or motorcycles, it hurts the public perception of the program.
It also hurts our ability to provide welfare resources for our most vulnerable citizens: the elderly, the disabled and the mentally challenged.
We have made moderate progress with welfare reform, but there is much more work to do. We have moved from the Number 1 welfare state in the country down to Number 3.
We should be in the middle of the pack. That’s why we will keep working to make our welfare system an affordable safety net for truly needy Mainers.
Paul R. LePage