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How South Carolina Is Avoiding the “Pit of Dependency”

On September 1, South Carolina will require able-bodied food stamp recipients to work, train, or volunteer 20 hours a week in order to receive benefits.

The change will help provide some much-needed relief to small businesses in need of workers: There are currently 175,000 job openings throughout South Carolina. The change is expected to cover 29,000 people who had previously been covered by a COVID-era exemption.

Nationwide, food stamp enrollment and spending have more than doubled since 2019, reaching record highs. Some blue states have requested state-specific waivers to the federal requirement, and South Carolina deserves a great deal of credit for resisting asking for a similar exemption.

That’s because recent FGA research has clearly pointed out the danger of getting stuck in the “Welfare Pit” of chronic dependency. This research, with a specific eye toward the food stamp program, points to the transitional nature of food stamps. The research discredits arguments that people on welfare are stuck on the edge of a “cliff” where they would lose benefits. In fact, it reveals that most able-bodied adults on welfare don’t work at all, and that the solution to the welfare pit is work requirements. An earlier study also found that work requirements are “among the most effective tools in lifting families out of dependency and into self-sufficiency.”

By promoting self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, work requirements help individuals break the cycle of dependency and achieve greater economic stability.

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