Fixing Welfare

The Welfare System is Broken

In the past decade, the number of people trapped in Maine’s welfare system has skyrocketed:

  • From 2003 to 2010, welfare enrollment grew to 402,000 from 226,000 recipients
  • Maine has some of the most liberal eligibility requirements in the nation
  • In the past 15 years, spending on welfare has nearly doubled, while Maine’s poverty rate has remained constant
  • Maine ranks in the top 6 in food stamp, Medicaid and TANF participation, an honor not bestowed to any other state

A Number of Important Reforms since 2010:

  • A five-year cap on welfare receipt
  • Stricter sanctions for non-compliance to welfare rules
  • Medicaid income eligibility tightened to 133 percent from 200 percent of the federal poverty level
  • Improved Fraud Prevention
  • Streamlined the Department of Health and Human Services
  • Disqualification of eligibility for drug felons and non-citizens

Fix the System

Focus aid on the truly needy

  • Further tighten income eligibility requirements

Encourage Independence over Dependency

  • Help people toward work and self-sufficiency first, with welfare as a last resort
  • Create real and enforceable work and job search requirements

Continue to Overhaul Maine’s Welfare Bureaucracy

  • Simplify and streamline the system in order to provide a clear path to self-sufficiency
  • Set work and self-sufficiency goals for recipients, and report total results to taxpayers each month

Create an economic environment conducive to self-sufficiency and success

  • Reduce the burden of high taxes, healthcare and energy costs on low-income families
  • Create a business-friendly environment that promotes hard work and self-sufficiency