The state could have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fines because of the number of Ohioans on welfare. For the third year in a row, the US Department of Health and Human Services says too many Ohio welfare recipients are not working or not making attempts to find jobs. Welfare reform requires more than half of a state’s welfare recipients to be working or to be in job training programs. Ohio’s total for the last year measured was just over 23%. The fines over the three years total $275 million. Michael Colbert is the head of Ohio’s Job and Family Services Department, and he says the state is meeting this problem head-on – starting in the urban areas.
Colbert says ODJFS is also working to link people on welfare with the business community, because he says they either need to have some level of work participation or they have to come off the system.