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Bill To Expand Assistance For State's Poorest Families Heads To Senate Floor


A bill that would gradually expand assistance for impoverished Hoosiers with children easily passed a committee vote Monday with only two senators opposing it. It now goes to the Senate floor. 

Each year, Indiana receives about $200 million from the federal government to give cash assistance, child care and work training to some of the state’s poorest parents. It funds a program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or simply TANF.

Although it's federally funded, the state gets to decide who is eligible for that assistance and how much money they get. 

READ MORE: How Do I Follow Indiana's Legislative Session? Here's Your Guide To Demystify The Process

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Bill author Sen. Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute) said Indiana’s income eligibility cutoff – $288 a month for a family of three – is so low only about 6 out of 100 families in poverty are able to get cash assistance. 

“Indiana has one of the lowest eligibility percentages in the country,” he said. 

The bill would make it so that income cutoffs for assistance would become percentages – not set amounts – and would gradually increase the percents to reach half of the federal poverty rate in three years. It would make Indiana’s eligibility comparable to neighboring states.

Contact reporter Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.

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