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How Maine’s Time Limit on Welfare Pushed One Woman to Pull Herself Out of Poverty

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By Melissa Quinn / at The Daily Signal

In 2007, Jill Rothrock had two daughters and no steady full-time employment, so she began receiving benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. (Photo: Joe Sohm Visions of America/Newscom)

Portrait of Melissa Quinn Melissa Quinn is a senior news reporter for The Daily Signal.

 

Jill Rothrock knows the moment she hit rock bottom.

It was 2007, and Rothrock went into the pharmacy in Bucksport, Maine, to pick up a prescription for Vicodin that she had called in herself. Her two daughters were in the car, and after she had picked up the pills, Rothrock got back into a car she was renting and began to drive away.

But agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration pulled up behind her, and at that moment, one word entered Rothrock’s mind.

“Finally.”

 Rothrock, now 44, had been battling addiction for more than 20 years.

After she was arrested in 2007, Rothrock cleaned up and enrolled in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, or TANF, and worked to find a full-time job.

Now, nearly a decade later, she’s transitioned off of public assistance and has a full-time job working for the state, a change she attributes in part to the 60-month time limit enacted by Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, in 2012.

“It forced me to do what I had to do to get off benefits and start making my own money again,” she told The Daily Signal.

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