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Councilmember Graham Secures One Year Extension of TANF Benefits
Chairman of the Committee on Human Services Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward One) today delayed a 25% reduction in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits for those on the program beyond sixty months.
“The Department of Human Services is not ready to begin a new employment, training development program. And only 25% of the assessments of families on TANF have been made. Both of those items need to come before we consider any reduction in TANF benefits,” said Graham.
On average those on TANF live on $450 a month. There are eleven thousand children under the age of thirteen among the six thousand families receiving TANF.
“While we need to help people get off welfare, we need to help them make that transition on a realistic schedule. And a couple of months, or two weeks is certainly not enough time,” said Graham.
TANF beneficiaries were given only two weeks notice prior to a 20% reduction in benefits in April 2011.
The Budget Support Act includes a group of new exemptions. These will offer some additional protection to those who are over the age of sixty, involved in an educational program, or who have made claims of domestic abuse.
The 25% reduction in TANF benefits for those on the program five years was scheduled for October 1. Councilmember Graham’s amendment delays that reduction by one year.