Families, EA providers, and community members, and staff from the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) came together last week to discuss potential changes to TAFDC.
The increased asset limit (to $5,000) was the only change to TAFDC included in the House Ways and Means FY19 budget proposal.
Amendments have been filed for other proposed changes, see a full analysis by MLRI here (updated April 12th).
In March DTA’s Commissioner McCue delivered his FY19 budget testimony.
John Stella, Director of Economic Assistance & Megan Nicholls, Assistant Director of Family Assistance from the Department of Transitional Assistance presented proposed changes to TAFDC, and engaged in an in depth Q&A with more than 25 community members who attended.
After DTA’s presentation and Q&A, we heard comments and concerns around the potential changes to TAFDC and the work of DTA more broadly. Here are some of the points that were made:
- Communication remains a challenge and barrier – program participants are not able to access information specific to their case, and the issue of accessibility is a concern for many in discussions around new/modified programs.
- As of yet families have not vetted TAFDC proposals – DTA plans to incorporate this, but it is not clear to what extent family input will affect these proposed changes or future proposals.
- Early and consistent communication with DHCD on proposed changes is important, for example adjusting DHCD program requirements to keep them in line with improved asset limits.
- The relationship between the cost to families (time and resources) and administrative costs – limiting burdensome verification measures when implementing new or modified policies may reduce these costs both for families and for DTA.
- Targeting reforms to more work-ready, non-exempt families is important. However, it is vital that changes are made to reflect the needs of all families.
- Learn to Earn: there are diverse stakeholders in different fields who could inform, assess, and anticipate issues prior to changes being made; these stakeholders should be brought to the table early to take advantage of their expertise.
- Reiterated support for the proposed asset limit increase to $5,000 (included in HWM) as a step in the right direction.