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Mass. Senate Leaders Unveil Welfare Reform Plan

ebtcardBOSTON (AP/WGGB) — Senate leaders are proposing a sweeping overhaul of the state’s welfare system that seeks to put more welfare recipients back in the workforce while reducing fraud and waste.

The plan outlined Monday and scheduled for debate by the full Senate on Thursday would require people seeking benefits to first seek work, first on their own, and then with state assistance.

Democratic Senate President Therese Murray said the bill would remove incentives for people to stay on welfare rather than return to work, or to abuse the system.

The bill would require photo identification on electronic benefit transfer cards used by welfare recipients, and would increase the number of state welfare fraud investigators.

ABC40 caught up with State Senator Michael Knapik (R- Westfield) today who says this was the intention of the program all along.

“It’s unfortunate the program really got away from state government, people made excuses for too long a period of time and really became a crutch. And it was never intended to become a crutch, it was intended to help people empower themselves. And that’s what I think we’re looking to do again. Create a program of high integrity,” Knapik says.

Senators expect the costs of implementing the reforms to be offset by a reduction in people receiving benefits.



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