TANF

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon had harsh words for lawmakers who want to enact lifetime limits on the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

Speaking at Operation Breakthrough in Kansas City, Missouri, Thursday morning, Nixon called Senate Bill 24 "a misguided measure that punishes poor children in the legislature's zeal to reduce reliance on government assistance."

Lawmakers want to cap TANF benefits at 45 months. Currently, families are eligible for five years of benefits.

Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

Approximately 350 low-income families will be dropped from the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program after a new welfare reform measure takes effect July 1, state officials said Thursday.

The measure, signed into law Thursday by Gov. Sam Brownback, lowers families’ lifetime eligibility for TANF from 48 months to 36.

Families that have reached or exceeded the 36-month threshold when the law takes effect will be cut from the program. They will remain eligible for food stamps but will lose their cash assistance.

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

Gov. Sam Brownback said Wednesday that he intends to sign a controversial welfare bill despite concerns from those who work with poor Kansans about whether the restrictions it imposes are realistic or enforceable.

The governor will sign the bill at a Thursday morning media event featuring former welfare recipients who obtained jobs with help from a state training program.

The Senate voted Wednesday to solidify policies restricting cash assistance to low-income Kansans over the objections of a senator who represents an urban district and other Democrats.

Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, a Democrat from Wichita, said her Senate colleagues displayed ignorance of the realities of poverty in Kansas by passing House Bill 2258

Kansas lawmakers are preparing to vote on a bill that would further tighten the rules for the state’s two main public assistance programs.

The measure, which the House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee endorsed on Wednesday, writes into state law several recent administrative changes made as part of Gov. Sam Brownback’s welfare to work initiative.

A new audit released Tuesday finds that some welfare recipients in Missouri have used their benefits to buy things besides food and other daily necessities, while others may have moved away but continue to get in-state benefits.

A bill that would require drug testing for some welfare and unemployment benefit recipients passed the Kansas Senate Thursday. It would require drug tests for some people enrolled in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, if they are suspected of drug use.

Senator Jeff King, an Independence Republican, says the goal of the bill is to help Kansans who have drug problems.

Democratic Senator Anthony Hensley tried  to add a provision that would also administer drug tests to business owners who receive economic development funds from the state.