Isn’t this a progressive state? The bluest of the blue.
So why are we attacking the poor?
Why would the State House push a so-called welfare reform bill that undermines access to the critical supports that are a lifeline for low-income families, at moments when they have nowhere else to turn?
These "reform" provisions are counterproductive and will cost the Commonwealth in the long run. They push struggling people off the rolls, just as we are coming out of the worst recession in a decade.
Among the worst ideas:
Job search for applicants. Requiring applicants to verify job search before benefits are approved -- without providing transportation, childcare, or any help with that search. Parents in crisis will not be able to meet this requirement, especially without the necessary supports. A similar provision in Pennsylvania raised the assistance denial rate to 80%, turning away people in need.
Work requirements for parents with disabilities. Allowing DTA to impose work requirements on 4,500 disabled parents, resulting in loss of benefits for the parents and their children, too.
No benefits for people who go off assistance and then reapply, unless they can show they complied with a plan that was done before they went off (perhaps years earlier). Yet the bill provides no resources or assistance to help them complete the plan.
Attending a four year college would no longer count as a work activity. Federal law allows college to count for 12 months and longer if combined with another activity. Data show that a college degree is one of the most reliable predictors of financial stability. If a parent is in college at a time her family needs assistance, she should not be required to drop out.
Does not increase funding for education or training, which has been cut by 80% since 2002.
Only allows families to set aside $5,000 in an asset account for allowable purposes and doesn't permit families to own a reliable car, making it harder for families to become financially stable.
The good news is that a group of legislators is working to make the bill better via the amendment process. Their amendment would ease some of the most restrictive provisions that would be imposed on those turning to welfare as their family’s last resort.
Read the facts about this vital amendment.
Find your State Rep and them right now.
Tell them to SUPPORT REPRESENTATIVE Marjorie Decker's AMENDMENT 74 to the welfare reform bill
If the AMENDMENT DOESN’T PASS, tell them to VOTE NO on the whole bill
Stand up for the children of the Commonwealth. Preserve the safety net for struggling families.