Ohio is asking federal regulators to reduce or waive millions of dollars in penalties it faces because not enough residents collecting welfare meet federal requirements to be working or pursuing employment.
The Columbus Dispatch reports less than a quarter of Ohio adults collecting welfare meet the requirements. The work-participation rate is 23 percent. The newspaper says that’s the lowest since 1997, when strict work guidelines for welfare recipients were imposed.
Ohio has been hit with $136 million in penalties because it did not meet the work-participation benchmark of 42 percent in the past four years. The penalty for 2010 has not been assessed.
More than half the state’s welfare recipients met work requirements from 1999 to 2006. But job and welfare officials say the recession has limited employment opportunities.