COLUMBUS, Ohio — The administration of Ohio Gov. John Kasich plans to limit food stamps for more than 130,000 adults in all but a few economically depressed areas starting next year.
According to The (Columbus) Dispatch, the requirement will cover able-bodied adults without children.
They will be required to spend at least 20 hours a week working, training for a job, volunteering or performing a similar type of activity unless they live in one of 16 high-unemployment counties.
The requirements begin next month but those failing to meet them would not lose benefits until Jan. 1.
More than 1.8 million Ohioans receive food stamps.
The exempt counties are Adams, Brown, Clinton, Coshocton, Highland, Huron, Jefferson, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingun, Noble, Ottawa, Perry, Pike and Scioto.
"It's important that we provide more than just a monetary benefit, that we provide job training, an additional level of support that helps put [food-stamp recipients] on a path toward a career and out of poverty," Ben Johnson, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, told the newspaper.
For years, Ohio has taken advantage of a federal waiver exempting food-stamps recipients from the work requirements that Kasich championed while U.S. House Budget Committee chairman during the mid-1990s.
"The governor believes in a work requirement," Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said Friday. "But when the economy is bad and people are hurting, the waiver can be helpful. Now, fortunately, Ohio's economy is improving."
An estimated 134,000 adults will be subject to the work requirements. They are ages 18 to 50, without children under 18, and deemed to be physically and mentally able to participate, Johnson said.
County officials who administer public assistance and advocates for the poor predict the requirement will take food stamps away from thousands of Ohioans.