Columbia, SC (WLTX) Democratic candidate for governor Vincent Sheheen aimed more attacks Thursday at Gov. Nikki Haley over problems at the state Department of Social Services and her claims about the number of DSS clients who've gotten off welfare by getting jobs.
"Her benefits-to-work numbers are untrue," he told reporters in Columbia. "They just don't add up, and yet they continue to pile lie upon lie."
In one of her campaign ads, Haley says more than 20,000 people have moved off of welfare to work. That's true. The actual number is 25,623, according to DSS.
But Sheheen's criticism is that some of those are part-time jobs, and thousands of the people who've supposedly gotten off of welfare by getting jobs are still getting benefits.
DSS confirms that it does count part-time jobs as welfare-to-work successes. Someone working as little as 5 hours a week would be counted, but DSS says that person would still be required to put in 25 more hours a week trying to get more hours or looking for a better job. There's a 30-hour-a-week requirement for benefits recipients.
As for people still getting benefits even though they've gotten jobs, that's partially true. DSS says if someone gets a job but still qualifies for and gets welfare, which is officially known as TANF, or temporary assistance to needy families, they are NOT counted in the welfare-to-work numbers.
But if someone gets a job and still qualifies for food stamps, they ARE counted in the numbers, because food stamps are a separate program with a higher income threshold.
DSS could not provide a number for how many people who are working are still getting benefits too. Of the 25,623 people counted in the welfare-to-work numbers, about 17,000 get paid enough so that they no longer qualified for TANF.
Haley for Governor spokesperson Chaney Adams says, "Only a hopeless liberal like Vince Sheheen would rather keep people on welfare then help them move into the workforce. This successful program that has added to our state's massive reduction in unemployment in the last four years is great news for South Carolina and bad news for Vince's endless political ambitions."
Sheheen told reporters, "At the end of the day, what matters is whether or not people have full-time jobs, and that's what Haley is lying about."