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Apr 17, 2015 5:57 PM

New Hampshire: Worst state for workers needing aid to meet basic needs


New Hampshire tops a national list when it comes to working people who need public assistance to help make ends meet.

The Granite State spends $160 million tax dollars a year on Medicaid, children's health and welfare programs. A University of California at Berkeley study shows 65 percent of that goes to working families, defined as having at least one household member working at least 10 hours a week and at least 27 weeks a year.

The study is meant to demonstrate that when companies don't pay at least a living wage, it drains public funds because employees need food stamps and other benefits to get by.

In 2014, more than 48,000 Granite Staters worked as cashiers or in retail sales. The average starting pay is $8.31 an hour. Nearly 12,000 worked in fast food jobs, starting at $8.17 an hour. With the high cost of housing, public programs help fill the gap.

New Hampshire jumped to the front of the line after passing a tough welfare reform law in 2006, making those on welfare work, attend school or participate in employment training to receive benefits.


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