State advocates for the poor oppose Food Stamp Bill

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Advocates for low-income West Virginians are urging the House of Delegates to defeat a Senate-passed bill to establish a computerized system to verify whether 176,000 households getting food stamps are eligible.

Following pilot programs in nine counties, opponents say the state will spend $15 million for an outside contractor, find little fraud in the federally funded program whose benefit is about $74 a month and set reporting requirements that will knock people off.

Jean Simpson, executive director of Manna Meal, a nonprofit soup kitchen in Charleston, says they feed 400 people daily and taking benefits from the people they see is “shameful.”

The bill would require able-bodied adults without dependents getting the federal benefits to work at least 20 hours a week and limit benefits based on household assets.

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