(02/14/2002)
While hundreds of West Virginia families have been removed from receiving "the check" (TANF) from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, the agency says it is vigilant over people moving from other states to receive the benefit.

West Virginia has a five-year cap on eligibility, and some other states have a two or three year cut-off.

Karen Thorton, who oversees the state's welfare program, says she knows of 590 families that have moved to West Virginia and obtained the benefits.

Local DHHR administrator Jim Morford said about 17 families in Calhoun, Wirt and Gilmer will be cut from the general welfare program within a year, reaching their 60 month cut-off. Last month in West Virginia about 160 families were cut-off.

Morford says many people perceive there are large numbers of people receiving the "welfare check" in the area, but that is not the case. About 120 families are enrolled in the three-county area, with 60 to 70 families in Calhoun.

The welfare caseload hit a peak in the late 70's, said Morford. "There are numbers of people receiving food stamps and using medical cards," he said.

A considerable number of people are receiving assistance from Social Security through disability programs, which is not connected to DHHR services. Morford said about one in three people in Calhoun receives some form of assistance.

Thorton said she feels the department is doing its job, with most recipients staying on the roll for 24 to 36 months.


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