Cash Assistance For Needy Families To Double In Louisiana After Two Decade Freeze State policy
Louisiana’s federally funded cash assistance programs, which are near the lowest nationally, will be doubled next month after remaining stagnant for more than two decades, state officials said.
“We hope this increase in the amount of benefits will attract more people and encourage them to apply,” Marketa Garner Walters, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services, said in a statement.
With the closing of grocery stores and the rapid defrosting of freezers, the state and food banks are scrambling to provide food to hurricane victims.
The two online assistance programs for monthly hikes are part of a 1996 federal program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF.
The money is supposed to meet the family’s basic needs for food, shelter and clothing.
Louisiana has raised $ 1.6 billion for the program over the past 10 years, or about $ 163 million per year.
The aid was also the subject of a 56-page audit released Monday by Legislative Auditor Mike Waguespack, a report that stems from a bill approved earlier this year by the Legislative Assembly.
Almost one in four state residents live in poverty, including 25% of grandparents who are responsible for the care of one or more of their grandchildren.
However, the state ranks 48th in the country in the amount of cash assistance available to needy families, according to the audit.
The state provides cash assistance to four out of every 100 families living in poverty compared to an average of 23 nationwide.
One of the programs, called the Temporary Assistance for Family Independence Program, provides money to 1,484 needy households with children.
The current rate is $ 240 per month for a single parent family of three with no income, which will increase to $ 484.
The other online for a boost is called the Kinship Care Subsidy Program, which helps caregivers in 1,338 households that have legal guardianship of underage parents.
This benefit will be reduced next month from $ 222 to $ 450 per eligible child.
Inflation has risen 61% since the last aid change in 2000, officials said.
This means that what cost $ 1 more than two decades ago now costs $ 1.61.
After a flood of calls from people wanting to apply for disaster-related food stamps, the federal government agreed to extend the request …
âThis is especially important at a time when families are facing price increases due to inflation and the unprecedented needs caused by the pandemic,â said Shavana Howard, deputy secretary of the Division of Family Support at the ‘State.
âIt was imperative that these benefit amounts be increased to meet their needs,â Howard said.
Beneficiaries eligible for work under the Temporary Assistance for Family Independence Program are expected to participate in education, on-the-job training, job preparation or working hours.
The audit said Louisiana had the lowest labor participation rate in the country in 2020 – 3.5%.
Waguespack’s review said that while states have a great deal of latitude in how to use TANF funds, Louisiana’s approach is different from most.
Almost 30% of the annual federal allowance helps fund preschool classes for four-year-olds living in low-income families, known as LA4.
Child welfare services account for another 25% of federal aid.
In addition to assisting needy families, TANF aims to end dependence on government benefits, prevent pregnancies outside marriage and encourage the formation of two-parent families.
Louisiana ranked 2nd in the country for extra-marital pregnancies between 2014 and 2019, according to the audit and figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The state also ranked 3rd nationally for its teenage birth rate in 2019.
To apply for cash assistance, visit http://www.dcfs.la.gov/cash-assistance.
Check back with The Advocate for more details.