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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: April 11, 2014 02:44 PM
From: Representative RoseMarie Swanger
To: All House members
Subject: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program Legislation
I plan to introduce legislation that would limit the amount of cash assistance families receive for additional children born when eligible under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

This legislation (former HB 2718) implements what is traditionally known as a “family cap.” A family cap seeks to reduce the number of children born on public assistance. Because welfare benefits are most often calculated based on family size, a family cap ends the traditional system of welfare benefits that increase with family size and instead freeze the amount of a family’s welfare grant at a level correlated to the number of children in the family at the time that the family began receiving assistance.

Many states have passed family cap policies, which deny additional benefits or reduce the cash grant to families who have additional children while on assistance. According to the NCSL, 19 states currently have a family cap policy and an additional two states have a flat cash assistance grant regardless of family size.

In keeping with Pennsylvania’s tradition of encouraging individuals to become self-sufficient and providing work supports for individuals transitioning from the public assistance system into the workforce, my legislation is not seeking to punish families. Rather, its intent is to end the cycle of dependency upon public assistance, which is only a temporary support, and encourage individuals to plan for the future of their families.

If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact my Harrisburg office at 787-2686.

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Introduced as HB2477