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Testimony: District of Columbia Public Assistance Amendment Act of 2016

October 27, 2016

Executive Director Judith Sandalow testified before the DC Council’s Committee on Health and Human Services regarding the “District of Columbia Public Assistance Amendment Act of 2016” and the “Recommendations for Development of a TANF Hardship Extension Policy for Washington, DC” report. The proposed legislation would expand the time individuals utilizing Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) may receive benefits under specified circumstances. The legislation would also require the Mayor to create rules to support its provisions, inform recipients of its provisions, and standardize processes by which to determine and re-determine eligibility of each TANF recipient. The report documents the recommendations, deliberations, and stakeholders’ feedback for developing a TANF hardship extension policy and related improvements to the District’s TANF program.

In her testimony, Judith expressed full support for the preferred policy recommendation made by an overwhelming majority of the Mayor’s working group. She went on to state:

While we continue to support this measure, the working group’s proposal accomplishes the same goals, but is simpler for DHS to administer and, more importantly, less complicated for families approaching 60 total months of TANF participation who need continuing support. I therefore urge that this committee amend Bill 21-515 to reflect the Mayor’s working group recommendation. Further, I urge this Committee to approve the amended bill and the Council to pass it during the current legislative session to give the Administration adequate time for budget and implementation planning. And I urge the Mayor to work with the Council, advocates, and community members to ensure that this policy change is fully funded and ready for implementation at the beginning of FY18. We have the opportunity to resolve the issue of TANF cut-offs once and for all with a solution that has broad support from across the community. We should seize it.

Click below to read her full testimony.