Diana has joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to vote to enact additional welfare reform legislation designed to both reduce fraud in the system and assist welfare recipients in their struggle to find jobs and end their reliance on public assistance.
Among the legislation’s provisions are crackdowns on out-of-state residents collecting welfare payments and food stamp traffickers. Benefits will be suspended for recipients who fail to notify the Commonwealth of an address change.
The bill includes a provision that mandates adult recipients who are not enrolled full-time in a secondary school or educational program to seek employment through a new Pathways to Self-Sufficiency program, designed to place welfare recipients in jobs with regional employers. Under the legislation, adult applicants must conduct an initial job search prior to receiving cash assistance and evidence of this must be provided to the Commonwealth.
The new legislation comes on the heels of welfare reform measures passed under the FY’14 Budget. Among the reforms then passed were the requiring of EBT cards to include photo IDs and creation of a state verification and eligibility Task Force to investigate and prevent fraud and the abuse of public benefits.
“We must combine reforms with pathways to self-sufficiency,” Diana said. “Having co-sponsored several bills to reform our welfare system, I am glad to see these measures pass alongside key components meant to foster economic independence and success among struggling families in our communities.”