(The Center Square) – Legislation is advancing in Springfield that would increase payments to eligible residents participating in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, welfare program.
The Illinois House passed House Bill 4423, brought by state Rep. Marcus Evans, D-Chicago. The measure would increase benefits from 30% of the federal poverty guidelines for each family size to 50%.
“We want to get that money to the families and we know the reality that many times it is single moms right on the edge and these additional dollars will go a long way,” said Evans.
State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, agrees with allowing dollars for child support to go directly to parents or guardians instead of the current system where the state withholds some of the money.
“When child support is paid by a parent, it goes to the children it is designed to support,” Demmer said.
Maxica Williams, a mother of three and a member of the TANF Research Advisory Board, testified during committee hearings that the current TANF benefits aren’t enough.
“The cost of living keeps going up for us, increasing every year and every day with inflation and all that is going on in the society with the pandemic and COVID,” Williams said.
In 1996, former President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which included a provision that imposed a lifetime ban on anyone receiving TANF benefits if they had been convicted of a drug felony charge.
The law allowed states to opt out of the provision, which Illinois did last year.
The cost of the increase to taxpayers will be about $40 million. Funding for the TANF program comes from federal block grants.
The bill is now headed to the Senate for a vote.
March 24, 2022 at 05:50PM