FSET program numbers concern local lawmaker, food pantry supplier

There's concern about more and more people losing access to FoodShare benefits because of the new work requirements.  It's part of a provision in a law that requires people to meet a work requirement to be eligible for the program. 

It also says the following:

Able-bodied adults between ages 18 and 49, with no minor children living in their home, are required to meet a work requirement by working a minimum of 80 hours per month; enrolling in employment and worker training programs; or both working and participating in an allowable employment training for a combined total of at least 80 hours per each month, unless the member meets a federally-established work requirement exemption. If FoodShare members required to meet the work requirement choose not to comply with this term of eligibility, the member will be limited to three months of FoodShare benefits in a 36-month period.

?About 4,500 people found work through some training programs while around 15,000 lost access to it.  This worries Sherrie Tussler from the Hunger Task Force in Milwaukee because people will be forced to rely on charities for food instead of using FoodShare if they fail to find a job or comply with search requirements.

"We supply 54 food pantries, 20 soup kitchens and homeless shelters," Tussler said.  "Individuals when they first experience hunger will visit a family member or friend's house but through time will end up having to visit charity. When those charities are called upon to help out tens of thousands of more people than they currently serve, it is very likely that we will see wide scale food shortages." 

Republican State Representative Mark Born says the program is working how it is supposed to. He released a statement to CBS 58 saying:

“The FSET program was created to help guide able-bodied adults back into the workforce, or put them on the path to gainful employment while remaining on FoodShare. So far we have seen thousands of individuals follow the FSET program and secure employment as a result. It is important we continue to enact reforms and transition people from reliance on government to independence.”

Meanwhile, Democratic State Representative Mandela Barnes called on Governor Walker to ask for a waiver from time limits for FoodShare recipients in Milwaukee County.  Barnes released a statement saying:

“This holiday season will be devastating over half the people referred to FoodShare Employment & Training in Milwaukee,” Barnes said. “Only 7% of those referred to the program have found job placements. My constituents need immediate action in order to obtain good paying jobs and put food on their tables, so I call on Gov. Walker’s administration to do the humane thing and request a waiver from these time limits as soon as possible.”

Information about the program can be found online here"


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