Suit: Welfare program unconstitutional

Feb. 18, 2010 at 4:47 PM
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SEATTLE, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- A Seattle woman's lawsuit against the state of Washington claims the Work First welfare program violates her right against "involuntary servitude."

Christal Wood, a University of Washington law school graduate who said she and her young daughter became poverty-stricken while she was studying for the bar exam, said she is suing the state under the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution over the practices of the Work First program, KING-TV, Seattle, reported Thursday.

"Neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime ... shall exist within the United States," the amendment states.

Wood said the $453 monthly benefit she gets from the program requires her to either spend 32 hours a week looking for work at a program office or serve an internship at a non-profit for the same amount of weekly hours.

Wood said she was able to find an internship at a law firm that would allow her to advance her career, but the position is ineligible for Work First because the firm is not a non-profit.

The case is scheduled to be heard next year in King County Superior Court.

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