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Posts Tagged ‘TANF’

As I write this, we are less than 3 days away from dramatic spending cuts for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Nearly 48 million Americans rely on SNAP benefits, and every one of them will see a decrease in monthly benefits beginning November 1st.

           nov snap cuts cbpp

Dottie Rosenbaum, writing for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ (CBPP) Off the Charts blog, puts the real life cost into perspective.

A household of three, such as a mother with two children, will lose $29 a month — a total of $319 for November 2013 through September 2014…That equals about 16 meals a month for a family of three based on the cost of U.S. Agriculture Department’s “Thrifty Food Plan.”

Of course, the potential for further cuts does not end at the first of November.  The much debated Farm Bill is still being considered (more…)

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This post was written by Paul Shinn, CAP’s Public Policy Analyst.

CAP Tulsa recently published the second issue in our Better Benefits for Oklahoma Families series, covering Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). TANF is the only program that provides cash assistance to very low-income families with children. Too many Oklahoma children go without this essential support and are thus at risk for child maltreatment, poor health, and not succeeding in school.

Since federal welfare reform in 1996, Oklahoma has dramatically reduced its help to these most needy of families and children, even though there has been no drop in child poverty. As the chart below shows, Oklahoma only provides TANF cash assistance to 4,100 poor families, down from more than 30,000 in 1996. While TANF participation has fallen across the nation, Oklahoma’s drop has been much more severe.

TANF families served

While the welfare reforms were designed to move families from welfare to self-sufficiency, that’s simply not possible the way Oklahoma operates TANF. Several factors play a role.

  • Income guidelines keep most families who need help from getting it.  The most a family of three can make and qualify for TANF in Oklahoma is $824 per month, only half the poverty level.
  • TANF benefits are too low to do anything but fight off an emergency. The most a family of three can receive is $292 a month, well below the national average of $429. Many families don’t even qualify for this maximum benefit, which is only equivalent to 20 percent of the poverty level. Since Oklahoma has not raised benefits, the current payment to families is 32 percent less than in 1996, adjusting for inflation.
  • Most families do not receive assistance long enough to support themselves. More than half of Oklahoma families get TANF help for less than a full year. One reason is Oklahoma’s strict sanctions policy that denies help to the whole family, even young children, for minor violations of program rules.

Oklahoma can continue its strict approach to TANF cash assistance, (more…)

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Earlier this year, the Foundation for Child Development and Annie E. Casey Foundation released a series of reports on the child well-being index (CWI) for states. Study authors note that national information for child well-being does not help us understand how children are doing, since there is so much state variation and since states have responsibility for so many of the programs that support children and their families.

As is often the case with ranking documents, the news is not good for Oklahoma. In this very broad measure of how children fare (including 25 separate measures), Oklahoma children rank 43rd, with an index value of -0.56. New Jersey children are best off, with an index of 0.85, and New Mexico’s are worst off, with an index of -0.96. Perhaps most disturbing of all, we were in the bottom 10 states on five of the seven “domains” that were measured. Oklahoma’s domain rankings were: (more…)

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I must say that I really kind of love the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Off the Charts Blog.  They provide great information on a wide range of topics, but most importantly, they provide me the data to back up arguments I have with my friends about these same topics.  One of the ongoing arguments I have with a couple of friends is that people who receive housing vouchers (specifically Section 8) are lazy and don’t work.  Today on the Off the Charts Blog, Barbara Sard, CBPP’s Vice President of Housing Policy, posted about just this topic.

In her post, she summarized a new CBPP report analyzing the demographic characteristics and labor force attachment of voucher recipients.  The analysis shows:

Voucher recipients who do work make around $17,000 per year, which is not enough to afford decent housing in most places.

The analysis also shows: (more…)

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