Voters back restrictions on what welfare can be spent on

April 14, 2015, 9:14 PM UTC

People generally support limiting what welfare recipients can spend their money on

A bill imposing strict new rules on people receiving government assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) welfare program is set to be passed in Kansas. Under the new law recipients will be prohibited from spending money on a wide range of items, from tobacco to seafood. One particularly controversial provision of the new law limits daily cash withdrawals from welfare cards to $25 a day, potentially forcing recipients to spend a significant part of their welfare payments on ATM fees if they want to spend cash. 

YouGov's latest research shows that a large majority of Americans (64%) agree with the principle that the government should restrict what people can buy with money received from welfare payments. Only 26% of the public believe that welfare recipients should be free to decide how to spend the money. Support is highest among Republicans (86%) and independents (64%) but even half of Democrats (50%) think that the government should restrict the spending options of welfare recipients.

The bill that has been passed in Kansas includes a number of controversial provisions, notably blocking cash withdrawals on welfare cards of over $25 a day and prohibiting the purchase of certain foods - including steak and seafood - using EBT cards. Americans tend to oppose limiting cash withdrawals to $25 a day (46%) and most (51%) also oppose prohibiting the purchase of certain foods and drinks. There is, however, widespread support for the extension of current rules which prohibit people from purchasing alcohol food stamps to include welfare payments. 

Full poll results can be found here and topline results and margin of error here.