On the 20th anniversary (or thereabouts) of TANF…

KarenComstockITookThis…I wrote this for Mother Courant, about Community Soup Kitchen in New Haven.


4 responses to “On the 20th anniversary (or thereabouts) of TANF…

  1. TANF is a failure. Worse than that, it’s empowered the block grant craze in the Republican Party that threatens what left of our social safety net.

    Wild Bill’s fingerprints are all over the GOP “Better Way” agenda.

    Which might give someone pause when considering that if his wife wins the White House, he’ll be in charge of “revitalizing the economy”.

  2. Thanks for this. I don’t understand why age 18 is the cut-off age for SNAP support to families. These kids are typically in their senior year in high school and still dependent on parents/eating meals together with family. And if they go on to higher education, are still somewhat dependent on parental support. Why doesn’t family food assistance support include all family members, including the 18-22 year olds, if dependent on parents?

    • As far as I know, children living at home that are attending school…dependents…can receive benefits through the household. If a dependent child works for income, that must be submitted as part of the household eligibility process.

      The cut off you’re thinking of is probably the Able Bodied Adult Without Dependents rule in TANF that was recently reinstated in most States due to the alleged end of the Great Recession.

      Three-Month Time Limit Returning in 2016 in Many States
      Many adults without dependents will need to meet certain requirements to remain eligible for SNAP

      A provision in the 1996 welfare reform law limited individuals who are over the age of 18 and under the age of 50 to three months of SNAP benefits out of every three years unless they are working or in a work or training program 20 hours a week. Some individuals are exempt from this requirement, such as those who live with children in the household, those are determined to be physically or mentally unfit for work, pregnant women, and others determined to be exempt from SNAP work requirements.

      The law allows states to suspend the three-month limit in areas with high and sustained unemployment; many states qualified due to the Great Recession and its aftermath and have waived the time limit throughout the state. By January 2016, most states will only be able to waive parts of the state, though a handful of states that continue to experience high unemployment will remain eligible to waive the entire state. Individuals newly subject to the time limit will begin to lose eligibility in April 2016. CBPP estimates that roughly 1 million individuals will lose eligibility over the course of 2016.

      More information on the time limit generally is available at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/able-bodied-adults-without-dependents-abawds. For detailed eligibility requirements in a given state, consult the state SNAP agency.

      CBPP estimates more than 500,000 adults will lose benefits in 2016 as a result that program.

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