House Marks Up Legislation to Block State TANF Waivers

Last week, the House Committee on Ways and Means marked up the Preserving Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act of 2013 (H.R. 890; introduced by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI)). The bill would prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) from finalizing, implementing, enforcing, or otherwise taking any action regarding the HHS Information Memorandum (IM) issued July 12, 2012. The memorandum notified states that HHS would consider state proposals to waive some work participation requirements under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The Committee on Ways and Means reported the bill favorably by a vote of 21 to 14; the bill has also been referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce.

The HHS IM indicated “the Secretary’s willingness to exercise her waiver authority under section 1115 of the Social Security Act to allow states to test alternative and innovative strategies, policies, and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families.” The notice specifies that “HHS will only consider approving waivers relating to the work participation requirements that make changes intended to lead to more effective means of meeting the work goals of TANF.” Examples provided by HHS showed the different types of projects for which a waiver might be granted, including “projects that demonstrate strategies for more effectively serving individuals with disabilities, along with an alternative approach to measuring participation and outcomes for individuals with disabilities.” The Arc supports efforts to secure appropriate supports and services for TANF recipients with disabilities, who are estimated to make up a sizable proportion of TANF recipients.

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