The state’s cash welfare program has been sending out half as many checks to Ohio families as it did three and a half years ago, but advocates have very different explanations for that.
The Ohio Works First program provides a maximum of $465 a month to some of the state’s poorest people, those making just under $9,990 for a family of three. Most recipients can only get benefits for three years, and adults in the program have to be working or in job training for at least 30 hours a week. The money buys things that food stamps and other programs don’t cover.
The U.S. Congress is on its way to a budget deal a couple weeks ahead of the January 1, 2014 deadline, but the deal doesn’t include extending emergency unemployment benefits. That means around 40,000 Ohioans could see their payments end this month.
A report out this morning from a conservative think tank says welfare benefits are so generous that they’re keeping recipients from seeking out work. But advocates are blasting that as unfair, incomplete and wrong.
Thousands of Ohio welfare recipients who were overpaid more than 10 years ago are being informed that they will have to repay that money to the state.
The overpayments are not the result of fraud, and most resulted from administrative errors by government workers, The Columbus Dispatch (reported Wednesday. An example would be a welfare recipient who might have reported a change in income to his caseworker that would have reduced the benefit, but that information wasn't logged before the monthly check was mailed, the newspaper reported.