30 Washington Families Kicked Off Welfare "Work First" Program - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

30 Washington Families Kicked Off Welfare "Work First" Program

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KENNEWICK, Wash -   Welfare was cut off for 30 Washington families on March 1st .  

It's a part of the "Work First" program.  The people cut off have been getting benefits for four years and still aren't working.

However, the "Work First" program requires people to participate in self-sufficency activities within six months of the program, or they face sanctions. 

This is the first time this has happened.  Before Governor Christine Gregoire changed legislation, there was no limit, said John Olivas with the Department of Social Services in Kennewick.

Three families in the Yakima and Tri Cities region could be cut off soon.  As many as 160 could be cut off in the next year, Olivas said.   

These people have had warnings.   They've also had job training and opportunities, Olivas said. 

"It is not about punishing them or us wanting to kick them off, it is about motivating them and encouraging them to do something meaningful with their lives," Olivas said. 

People with mental health, domestic violence, drug and alcohol issues aren't included, they are still eligible for benefits, Olivas said.