Statistics show that most Americans between the ages of 25 and 75 will spend at least one year living below the federal poverty line of $12,760/year. In 2019, there were 34 million people living in poverty – 4.2 million fewer than the year before. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF), sometimes referred to as welfare, is a federal assistance program for the needy. TANF provides temporary cash assistance to indigent American families with dependent children. There is a 60-month lifetime limit on these modest benefits. TANF benefits have been steadily decreasing since the landmark social service reforms of the Clinton Administration. TANF benefits are set below two-thirds of the federal poverty line in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and at or below 20% of the poverty line in 18 states. In the median state in 2020, a family of three received $486 per month, while in 13 states, such a family received less than $300. The share of poor families with children that are drawing cash benefits plummeted from 68% to 27% between 1996 and 2010. During the same period, the number of poor families with children grew from 6.2 million to 7.3 million. Advocates give the same word of advice to working mothers as they do to former factory workers: Retrain.

Pending Legislation: S.1911 - 21st Century SKILLS Act
Sponsor: Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH)

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Poll Opening Date
June 7, 2021
Poll Closing Date
June 13, 2021

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