House passes resolution of disapproval of state TANF waivers

The House passed a disapproval resolution, H.J.Res. 118, introduced by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), to prevent implementation of a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Information Memorandum (IM) notifying states that HHS will consider state proposals to waive work participation requirements under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). A parallel measure, S.J.Res. 50, was introduced earlier in September by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and referred to the Senate Committee on Finance, but has not advanced.

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.

House marks up resolution of disapproval of state TANF waivers

In July, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) posted an Information Memorandum (IM) and sent a letter to state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) officials to “notify states of 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.”

On September 4th, the General Accountability Office issued an opinion that the IM must be submitted to Congress before taking effect. Last week, two House Committees marked up a disapproval resolution H.J.Res. 118, introduced by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), to prevent implementation of the IM. A parallel measure S.J.Res. 50, introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance.

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.

Bipartisan legislation to remove term “mentally retarded” from the Social Security Act introduced in the U.S. Senate

Senate Bill 3289 was introduced by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) that, among other things, would remove the antiquated term “mentally retarded” from the Social Security Act.  The term would be changed to “intellectually disabled.”  The bill builds on the 2010 Rosa’s Law which updated the language in numerous health and education bills.