Public assistance benefits reforms heading to the governor's desk
The Kentucky General Assembly has finalized action on public assistance reform legislation. The House bill covered several different areas including food stamps and Medicaid eligibility. Winchester GOP Senator Ralph Alvarado began his remarks by saying the legislation tries to make sure public assistance benefits are going to those who actually need it.
The bill was amended on the floor. Greensburg GOP Senator David Givens said the changes amount to modifying some original restrictions in the measure.
“It first considers fluctuating income data for applicant qualification, simply because sometimes an applicant’s income may fluctuate over a period of time and using a snapshot of just the last moment’s income may not be accurate. So, this permits the use of fluctuating income data,” said Givens.
Louisville Democratic Senator Morgan McGarvey said proponents claim the measure will help address fraud in the food stamp program. The minority floor leader said there are very few cases of substantiated fraud in the Commonwealth.
“If you’re sitting there thinking, ‘well that’s because they don’t catch a lot of fraud, then I want you to keep in mind that Kentucky has the highest rate of investigating and charging intentional program violations per capita of any state in the southeast,” said McGarvey.
McGarvey noted the amendments did improve the bill and potentially keep tens of thousands of Kentuckians receiving their benefits. But, the Louisville democrat added the overall bill is still lacking and punishes people.