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Food-stamp reform begins in Racine County; statewide changes coming in January

RACINE, Wis (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Food-stamp recipients in far southeast Wisconsin will be the first ones to have to work in order to keep getting their benefits. The requirement takes effect on January 1st statewide -- but it's getting a head-start tomorrow in Racine, Kenosha, and Walworth counties so the bugs can get worked out.

Majority Republicans passed a requirement last year that Food-Share recipients must either work, or be enrolled in an employee-training program to keep getting the food cards. In general, the change will affect adults age 18-to-49 with no children in their home who are physically able to work. The Racine Journal Times says it includes two-thousand of Racine County's 17,000 total Food-Share recipients.

The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates that about half the affected recipients will not be able to fulfill the new requirements -- and they'll be booted out of the food stamp program. Federal law requires childless healthy adults to work 20 hours a week to get food stamps. Wisconsin had a waiver from that requirement, until the state ended it.