FACT CHECK:   Did Congress pass a law stipulating that all mothers must prove they are employed or face jail time?

Claim:   Congress has passed a law stipulating that all mothers must prove they are employed or face jail time.

   FALSE

Example:     [Collected via e-mail and Twitter, August 2015]

I read a article saying mothers will be jailed in 2016 if they do not have a disability and not employed is this true?

Origins:    On 2 August 2015, the disreputable web site FammTV published an article titled “Mother’s [sic] May Soon End Up in Jail for Being Unemployed” which began as follows

Reportedly Congress will soon pass a law that all mothers without employment must have some source of employment before August 2016. As it was reported after a recent Congress meeting, mothers are no longer allowed to sit at home and collect government assistance. Mother must show that there is some other way they can provide for their children besides assistance from the Government. If they can not provide some kind of employment information, mothers will be served and will have to explain to a judge why they feel the need to not work and collect free benefits. The U.S. board of welfare is willing to help mothers with sources that will hire them. Congress may have already agreed reportedly, that mothers who haven’t work for a span of 6 years or longer may served up to 15-30 days in a correctional facility, if a judge find that they haven’t made an valid effort to find employment.

The article (riddled with grammatical errors in its title and content) asserted that “[a] mother who does not look to be able to financially support their child/children display a form of neglect” and that “[t]he plan is more so to help individuals find employment rather than to evade [sic] on the privacy of U.S. citizens.” However, there is not a “U.S. board of welfare” (as government assistance varies in administration and description from state to state); and Congress has neither considered nor passed legislation matching the “law” described by FammTV.

While FammTV doesn’t feature a disclaimer marking its content as satirical, the site bears many similarities to the fake news outlet Huzlers. On 5 June 2015, FammTV published a now semi-hidden article titled “Child Support No Longer in NEW JERSEY” that was marked as “made for humor only” which also railed at economically disadvantaged single mothers:

New Jersey has recently announced that they are cutting their child support program. It was said that Governor Chris Christie stated that he’s “sick and tired of lazy women collecting child support just to get their hair and nails done”. New Jersey has 1,000’s of men paying child support just so these women can sit back and collect welfare. Through a recent undercover investigation, we tracked 100’s of women in Newark during the 1st – 4th of every month for the last 5 months. Many of the women cleared their EBT card and headed straight to the hair salon.

The earlier article was widely circulated as real news and prompted a retraction from FammTV advising that the “Child Support Article Was Fake.”

Last updated:      4 August 2015

Originally published:     4 August 2015