welfare

Updated 5 p.m., Wed., May 6 -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon had harsh words for the General Assembly’s action to override his veto of a bill that shortens the period for low-income families to receive welfare benefits. The bill also imposes new work requirements.

During a stop in St. Louis, the governor said he didn't object to changing the work requirements. But he did object to the way it was done, which his administration says will result in about 6,500 children getting knocked off the state's welfare rolls.

"You don't move the state forward by taking benefits away from 6,500 kids,'' Nixon said. He explained that there were ways, such as a "protected payee program" that would have penalized the parents, but not the children.

"What did a 5-year-old do wrong?" he asked. "There were a lot of ways where kids didn't have to suffer here."

Photo courtesy of the Office of Gov. Jay Nixon

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says he has concerns about a bill passed by lawmakers that would reduce how long people can receive welfare benefits.

Legislation that would reduce lifetime eligibility for most welfare recipients in Missouri is on its way to Gov. Jay Nixon's desk.

An earlier version of the bill would have cut lifetime eligibility for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or TANF, in half, from 5 years to two and 1/2.  But a compromise between the House and Senate reduces that period to 3 years and 9 months.

missouri capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

A compromise between Missouri House and Senate Republicans that would lower the lifetime limit for temporary cash assistance for low-income families from 60 months to 45 months is moving forward.

The Senate on Tuesday approved by a vote of 25 to 9 the measure that would also impose stricter work requirements and higher sanctions for noncompliance.

The length of time a Missourian could receive welfare benefits would be cut in half, if legislation passed by the Missouri House becomes law.

Paul Sableman

 

  A House committee heard four different bills dealing with welfare benefits in Missouri.

 

The bills include work requirements and a two-year lifetime limit for assistance.

 

Camdenton Republican Representative Diane Franklin sponsored one of the bills.

 

“The state is not the end all to helping people move from a point where they need a helping hand to being in the workforce," Franklin said.

File Photo / KBIA

A proposal to cut the amount of time someone can be on welfare has first-round approval from the Missouri Senate. 

missouri house floor
File photo / KBIA

Missourians could lose welfare benefits if they go too long without using them in the state under legislation advanced by the House.

The House gave the measure first-round approval Wednesday. It needs a second vote before moving to the state Senate.

Recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families would be warned of possible suspensions if they go 60 days without using their electronic benefit card in Missouri. The Department of Social Services would suspend accounts if benefits went unused in Missouri after 90 days.

State of Missouri

Missouri's auditor is raising concerns about state payments to subsidize child care costs for lower-income families.

Auditor Tom Schweich criticized the state Social Services Department for not having enough quality control over the payments. The findings were included in an audit issued Monday of nearly $12 million in federal funds received by Missouri.

Schweich found that one-third of the payments reviewed by his office were not supported by proper documentation or were not in compliance with department guidelines.

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.

File / KBIA

The Missouri Department of Social Services has announced it will scale back on its participation in a contract to move welfare recipients onto federal disability.

david_shane / flickr

The Missouri House has passed a bill that would require the state to seek a federal waiver to put photo IDs on electronic benefits cards.

Photo courtesy of the Missouri Auditor's Office

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich is questioning millions of dollars of welfare payments made to low-income residents.

Casino
loop_oh / Flickr

A Missouri House bill aims to restrict the use of cash welfare benefits at casinos and liquor stores.