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Action Alert: Please call reps to sign onto critical benefits amendments!

On April 15, 2015, the House Committee on Ways and Means released its budget proposal for fiscal year 2015 (FY 15). The bill number is House 3400. MLRI offers this preliminary analysis of selected budget topics impacting low-income residents of the Commonwealth. Here's the link to MLRI's preliminary analysis of selected Cash and Nutrition Assistance, Child Care, Child Welfare, Health Care, Homelessness Services and Housing Items.

Please contact your State Representative and ask them to support these critical benefits amendments. The highest priorities are:
  • Improving DTA administration (Decker). This would bar DTA from denying or terminating food stamps or cash benefits if the household has sent documents to DTA and DTA has not yet determined the effect of the documents on eligibility. It would also require DTA to offer households the option of authorizing DTA to obtain information from third parties such as employers to obtain documents relevant to eligibility. Contact Nancy Gaines in Rep. Decker’s office. A fact sheet is attached. 
  • TAFDC Preservation (Decker).  This amendment would restore the $40/month rent allowance, restore the $150/year clothing allowance, and use the savings from the decline in the caseload to provide a small grant increase.  A fact sheet is attached.  Co-sponsors should contact Nancy Gaines in Rep. Decker'€™s office.
Other priorities include:
  • Restoring Employment Service Program funding (Khan). This would level-fund ESP and specifically assure ongoing funding for the Young Parents Program, transportation reimbursement up to $80/month for recipients in approved programs or paid work, and stipend for the DTA Works internship program as well as education and training programs.  House Ways and Means slashed the funding.  Contact Emily Szargowicz in Rep. Khan's office.
  • TAFDC Work Study Program (Sannicandro).  This would provide $2.35 million to support paid work study at community colleges and to pay for staff to help TAFDC recipients succeed in college.  Contact Scott Lieber in Rep. Sannicandro’s office.
  • Emergency Assistance Amendment to Protect Children (Decker). The first would allow children and their families to access EA shelter when they are within 24 hours of having to stay in a place not meant for human habitation. Contact Nancy Gaines in Rep. Decker’s office.
  • HomeBase amendment (Decker) to reduce the two-year bar on receiving shelter or housing assistance when a family is terminated from HomeBase.

Please contact your State Representative today and tomorrow AM. You can find contact information for your legislators at Where Do I Vote.