The Human Services Department announced it would not begin demanding more New Mexicans on food stamps meet work requirements. The rule change was slated to go into effect at the beginning of this month, but a lawsuit filed by two nonprofits threw a wrench in the works.
The lawsuit charged HSD with not following proper procedure in alerting people to the rule change—or posting the full and correct version of the work requirement—before it was adopted.
Sovereign Hager with the Center on Law and Poverty said the department is on notice. "Right now it means that New Mexicans will not be subject to incomprehensible policies that will limit their ability to get food assistance," she said. "That’s a big win."
Hager also emphasized that there was already a work requirement in place that affects childless adults aged 18 to 50 who are not disabled, and it will remain in effect.
Matt Kennicott with the Human Services Department says expanding the work requirement to include more of the people using food assistance is common sense and a way to lift New Mexico out of poverty.
Kennicott says rather than go through lengthy litigation, the state chose to ax the rule change and restart the process from the beginning. He expects that to happen soon, so be on the lookout for new public comment dates.