The Missouri Senate’s Seniors, Families and Children Committee met Tuesday to discuss reducing welfare in the state for people who have been on it for too long and violent felons.
The bill would reduce the maximum amount of time a person could receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits to 24 months from the current 60. It would also require anyone seeking TANF benefits to either have a job, be actively searching for a job or be enrolled in an education or job-training program.
In addition, the bill would bar violent felons from receiving either TANF or food stamp benefits. The bill’s sponsor, Cassville Republican David Sater, said he wants to encourage more Missourians to get back to work.
“Our program in Missouri is downright failing,” he said, at the mission of getting unemployed back in jobs. “Our work participation rate in this program is only around 17 percent,” the lowest in the nation, or 51 “if you include Washington, D.C. We can certainly do better than that.”
“We should ask questions like, how do we create a better TANF and SNAP program that will enable parents to overcome their barriers?” she said.
Logan Pike, speaking on behalf of a conservative think tank, has testified in favor of the bill. She stated that reducing the amount of time spent on these welfare programs provides incentive to find work. Pike said: “If TANF recipients aren’t working, they aren’t learning the skills that will get them out of poverty. The ‘T’ in TANF stands for temporary.”