Ten years after shutting the program down, Tennessee has brought back the Welfare to Work program which means that all able-bodied people without dependents have to engage in volunteer work to receive benefits like food stamps. It has been rolling out across the nation and is hugely successful. In fact, every month since Donald Trump became president, the number of people claiming food stamps has dropped…in some places by almost 80%.
Governor Bill Haslam said that when the program was scrapped 10 years ago it was necessary because of the poor job market and the bad economy, “But nearly a decade later, Tennessee is one of the top locations in the Southeast for high-quality jobs, and it’s now difficult to justify waiving the work requirement for adults without dependents who are able to work.”
The reinstatement means that to be eligible for certain benefit programs, recipients must engage in up to 20 hours of service each week. This will not have a huge impact because it only applies to those who are able-bodied and without children to look after, but if results in other parts of the country are anything to go by, it will make a difference; especially in new enrollments.
Working provides people not only with personal dignity but also opportunity. To help someone get back to a place where they become financially stable and can make an investment in their own future is what America was built upon. When a family can look at what they have built together, they can be proud. And this is the greatest freedom of all.