COLA for TANF
Update, 3/19/21: GOOD NEWS! The budget that just passed the SD Legislature last week has a 2.4% adjustment. Let's pray the Governor signs it and that the Dept. of Social Services implements it.
Ask for Cost-of-Living Adjustments
for the South Dakota's Poorest Children
TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, is the cash assistance program for children whose parents don't have more than a third of poverty level income to support them. They are in an extremely destitute situation.
The 2020 SD Legislature did not grant a cost-of-living adjustment for these payments. Neither did they the year before. Or the year before that. or the year before that. There has been no adjustment in the payments since the 2016 legislature.
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The poorest children in the state are often forgotten. They do not get automatic cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). The legislature must remember them in the state budget this year. Let's ask and pray the SD's Appropriations Committee will allow a 2.4% adjustment for TANF.
The families that pay their full housing costs from their TANF are the worst off. They run out of cash in the first days each month. Those with housing assistance or who share housing run out of cash a few days later.
Without COLAs, the buying power of TANF just keeps going down. SD’s maximum payment was only 35.7% of the poverty line 4 years ago. Now it’s 33.6%. That's how forgetting these payments sinks children deeper in poverty. Even with food stamps (SNAP), families are still far below poverty line.
Others in the state budget get inflation adjustments. If the TANF kids could have a 2.4% increase, it would average a much-needed $11 more each month per household. This should not be too much to ask of our state for the most destitute children. (Or, It could cost the state nothing, because a TANF reserve, unspent from previous TANF block grants is held by the feds for these SD children. It has over $22 million! It's the children's money. SD could tap that fund for adjustments for them for years and years.)
Please help the state’s poorest children by asking for a 2.4% increase for TANF in the state budget. No one needs it more. That would not make up for four years of no cost-of-living adjustments, but it sure would be helpful.
To find your state legislators and how to contact them: https://sdlegislature.gov/legislators
Thanks for being a voice for people who need voices, especially children.
CC Brechtelsbauer for the Bread for the World-SD, 2/15/21