AUGUSTA — A public hearing has been scheduled on Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed new rule to make childless households ineligible for food stamps if they have assets greater than $5,000.

The rule defines assets as the balance of bank accounts as well as boats, recreational vehicles, campers and other valuable items. It does not include equity in a home or a household’s primary vehicle. The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

A spokesman for the state Department of Health and Human Services says the rule is set to go into effect in the coming weeks regardless of the hearing.

The rule change says residents applying or re-applying for food stamps will be required to disclose their assets. LePage calls welfare “a last resort” and says recipients should first sell nonessential assets.

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