Senate Republican Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bill to Protect Integrity of Maine’s Welfare System Scheduled for Public Hearing
Who: Health and Human Services Committee
What: Public hearing on LD 886, “An Act To Require That Maine Welfare Benefits Be Used in Maine”
Where: Cross Building, Room 209
When: Thursday, April 27 at 1:00 PM
State Senator Eric Brakey’s (R-Androscoggin) bill, LD 886, “An Act To Require That Maine Welfare Benefits Be Used in Maine,” is scheduled to receive a public hearing on Thursday, April 27 at 1 PM before the Health and Human Services Committee.
If passed, LD 886 would prohibit recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, also known as TANF, from using an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card to access benefits provided by the taxpayers of Maine from outside of the state.
“Between 2011 to 2015, we spent nearly $65 million welfare dollars on EBT transactions outside of Maine,” said Sen. Brakey. “During that time, Maine taxpayers were on the hook for welfare transactions in every single state, including $3.7 million in Florida $5.2 million in Massachusetts, and over a million dollars in New York and Connecticut. We even sent welfare dollars to the Virgin Islands and Guam.
“According to testimony provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, a significant number of these individuals are accessing their TANF benefits consistently outside of Maine, sometimes for upwards of a year.
“It’s time to ensure that our benefits are going to support needy Maine families, not those who can afford to go on vacations, or even worse, aren’t actually residents of Maine. Allowing this behavior to continue puts the resource at risk for Mainers who properly use and truly need the safety net.
“We in Augusta need to take a serious look at this program to ensure that it’s living up to its mission, which is to enable impoverished Maine families to climb out of poverty.”