|JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation today (Feb. 23, 2015) sponsored by Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, that reforms Missouri’s welfare system, creates stronger work requirements to receive benefits and empowers more Missouri families to become self-sufficient.
“One of the most important steps someone can take to escape poverty is taking a job and participating in the workforce,” said Sater. “The current system too often acts as a disincentive to work, creating long-term dependency and erecting barriers to self-sufficiency.”
Sater’s bill, Senate Bill 24, creates an immediate work requirement to receive welfare benefits, lowers the lifetime eligibility limit for the program and creates strict sanctions for recipients not complying with work requirements.
Currently, less than 15 percent of Missouri welfare recipients are engaged in “work activities,” which is a broad definition that includes not only traditional work, but also job training, community service and job searches; this places Missouri last in the nation in work participation for welfare. Under Sater’s bill, the savings from strengthening Missouri’s work for welfare policies will be directed to helping families with child care, transportation and job training.
“We are restructuring our welfare system, making it more efficient and creating a hand up instead of a handout,” said Sater. “The ticket out of poverty is work and we should, as President Reagan said, judge the success of our welfare programs by how many leave welfare, not by how many are added.”
Senate Bill 24 now proceeds to the Missouri House of Representatives where it will go through the committee process before being debated before the full House.