Gov. Quinn has proposed to reduce the 5-year lifetime limit for TANF to 3 years – eliminating vital assistance for 6,000 children, effective July 1st. This devastating proposed cut comes on the heels of another cut to TANF last week that eliminated needy families’ access to immediate cash assistance. Our families can’t withstand any more cuts to TANF.
Tell the members of the House Human Services Appropriations Committee:
- Do not to reduce the 5-year lifetime TANF limit to 3 years and
- Fully fund the TANF program including continuation of the 5-year lifetime limit
The TANF lifetime limit should not be shortened from 5 to 3 years because:
- A 3-year lifetime limit is unrealistic in today’s job market. Ten percent of the Illinois workforce, 650,000 people, cannot find jobs. Spells of unemployment are far longer than usual in all sectors of the labor force, including workers with relatively little education and work experience.
- A 3-year lifetime limit is too short for many families. Many families that need TANF are beset with issues that present difficult barriers to work and need time to resolve: younger children, less education, more learning disabilities, less work experience, higher prevalence of physical and mental health problems, an adult caring for a child or other person with health issues, a higher incidence of domestic violence.
- A 3-year lifetime limit does not provide an adequate safety net for workers. One of every three workers does not qualify for unemployment compensation if they lose their job because they worked part-time, did not work long enough, or for other technical reasons. TANF is the between-jobs safety net for these families. While their average spell on TANF is relatively short, many need TANF for more than 3 years over their adult lifetime.
- A 3-year lifetime limit will not yield real savings. The projected $15 million “savings” from this measure that will make 6,000 children destitute is not enough to make a difference in patching up Illinois’s budget but it is life-changing for the affected children. Research shows that extreme deprivation delays child development, lowers school performance, and jeopardizes long-term health, costing us far more in other budget lines, including foster care, health care and special education. There will be no “savings” from this measure in the final tally. It is a costly mistake.