Utah welfare recipients may have to go through two hours of “self-reliance” training to keep their benefits under proposed legislation.
Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R-South Jordan, is proposing SB153, which requires recipients of public assistance to complete two hours of training within 90 days of receiving that support.
“The goal of public assistance is to help people, but our ultimate goal ought to be to get people to the point where they can be self-sufficient,” says Fillmore.
The legislation explicitly states that the classes are a condition for recipients to continue public assistance. Fillmore says that’s not his intention.
“What we have here are carrots, not hammers,” he says. “It does say it’s a condition of continuing to receive assistance, but that doesn’t stop them from re-applying. If the Department of Workforce Services believes the language is too strong, and people would be kicked off, we will change that. Our goal is to help them, not kick them off these programs.”
So, what would this training entail? Fillmore says the bill leaves it up to DWS to come up with the content.
“I imagine it would vary depending on the needs of the individual. Somebody who has good work skills that is temporarily out of work or perhaps has made some poor financial decisions or had some bad financial luck maybe could use some help with budgeting and financial training. Another person may need to get job skills or how to search for jobs.”
The bill also instructs DWS to seek a waiver if the requirement for the training runs afoul of federal law.
“We need to enshrine these Utah principles into law. If the federal government says no, we ought to be very clear that it’s the federal government standing in the way of us helping Utah families becoming self-reliant,” says Fillmore.