TN bill would add requirements for welfare recipients

Work search requirement for welfare

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A new Tennessee bill would require people on welfare to prove they are looking for work before they receive state benefits.

State Representative Andy Holt is the bill's sponsor. He said it would require people applying for unemployment to apply for at least three separate jobs (and show proof of those applications). The welfare recipient would have to show proof of at least three new job applications every 30 days to stay in the program.

Tim Pride said that requirement is logical and hard to argue with.

"If you get the opportunity to receive money from the government, you know, you've got to follow the guidelines," Pride said. "If the guidelines are to show proof of employment, or trying to gain employment, I think that's important and it's only fair."

But not everyone agrees. Peggy Owens does not think the requirements are fair at all.

"We already have a hard time applying for unemployment...Every time you call in for it you have to show proof."

Representative Holt said the state does already require people on unemployment to apply for jobs, but they only do random audits. He said that means some people abusing the system could slip through the cracks.

He said his bill closes the loophole and makes defrauding the system much harder.

Dwayne Johnson doesn't have a problem with the theory behind Holt's bill, but he said in practice it's going to be unfair to him because he has a hard time showing proof that he's applying for jobs.

"On every application is a background check," Johnson said. "My background check is messed up, man. I've got a felony. So, what's the first thing they are going to do? Throw it away."

Owens said there has to be a better way, unfortunately she admits she does not have the solution for how to cut down on fraud while still helping the people welfare is designed to help.

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