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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 22, 2019 01:01 PM
From: Representative Kerry A. Benninghoff
To: All House members
Subject: Welfare Reform: Changes to the TANF program
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant provides federal funding to states for a variety of public assistance programs, but most commonly, it is the funding source for cash welfare for needy families with children.

Federal law restricts federal TANF benefits to no more than 60 months (5 years) of assistance, however, individual states are able to set shorter limits. Currently, in Pennsylvania, most families can receive TANF cash assistance for the full 60 months (5 years). Not only that, Pennsylvania often allows cash benefits to be extended beyond 60 months (known as e-TANF).

We are one of very few states to allow such a generous and costly benefit.

Allowing individuals and families to become dependent on cash assistance for 5+ years does not help families get ahead, break the cycle of poverty, secure employment opportunities or obtain self-sufficiency, which was the original purpose of the TANF program.

To encourage families to lessen their dependency on government and work toward a better future, I will be introducing legislation to eliminate all extended TANF benefits (e-TANF) and establish a cumulative 48-month lifetime limit of cash assistance. Because states are permitted to exempt caseloads, my legislation will establish state-defined hardships.

Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB426