Revises economic assistance programs by updating standards of need, revising outcome measures and data collected, and reducing barriers to participation.
Establishes consolidated standards of need for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), refugee assistance, the pregnant women assistance program, and state family assistance. These standards may vary each fiscal year by geographical areas, program, and family size. Standards for programs mentioned above shall be based on studies of actual living costs and generally recognized inflation indices and shall include reasonable allowances for household budget including shelter, fuel, food, transportation, clothing, household maintenance and operations, personal maintenance, necessary incidentals, and out-of-pocket costs a recipient may incur for child care and health care.
The department must conduct a revised comprehensive study of living costs that includes recommendations for TANF standards as a percentage of need. The study must be submitted to the Office of Financial Management, the legislative-executive WorkFirst Poverty Reduction Oversight Task Force, and the Legislature by September 1. 2019.
By September 1, 2022, and every four years thereafter, the department must adjust the estimated base costs to a consumer for household budget items used in the study, in addition to annual adjustments for inflation.
By September 1, 2029, and every ten years thereafter, the department must submit a redesigned and updated comprehensive study the Office of Financial Management, the legislative-executive WorkFirst Poverty Reduction Oversight Task Force, and the Legislature. When completing each ten-year redesign, the department must adjust study parameters, including cost categories and geographic boundaries, as necessary.
The bill also adds time limit exemptions to adopted rules related to TANF based on certain circumstances.
Finally, creates rule that the department may not require applicants for TANF to attend a WorkFirst orientation as a condition of eligibility. The department may incorporate orientation information into the recipient assessment.
*Companion to SB5684*