State wants to raise expectations for welfare recipients

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration is proposing a re-write of its welfare-to-work manual to raise expectations for welfare recipients seeking jobs.

The rules would say job training participants can’t reject job offers unless they pay less than minimum wage — a change that follows approaches in states like California and Pennsylvania. But the rules also ease up some requirements, including increasing assistance for auto repairs and books and supplies.

The public has until the end of September to comment on the proposed rules.

The Department of Health and Human Services is finalizing a $26.5 million contract with a New York nonprofit to run Maine’s welfare-to-work program.

About 3,500 Maine parents who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits are required to search for jobs and meet federal standards.

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