ACT NO. 30
Welfare; temporary assistance for needy families; Reach Up
This act modifies Vermonts assistance programs for needy families in order to ensure the state can meet new federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) requirements contained in the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) of 2005 and to ensure that Vermonts current programs assist low-income families in achieving self-sufficiency.
The act creates a continuum of services for low-income families with children by creating two new programs and enhancing the current program, Reach Up. Reach First, a front end program, provides orientations, assessments, and temporary financial assistance to families who may need short-term assistance or who may transition to another program, such as Reach Up or the post-secondary education program. Reach Up, the current program, is enhanced to ensure families receive services needed to obtain employment and financial assistance by increasing the earnings disregard from $150 per month + 25% of the remaining income to $200 per month + 25%. In addition, the post-secondary education program financial payments are modified to reflect the Reach Up payment rules, although those negatively impacted will be grandfathered. Reach Ahead, a post-employment program, assists newly working families or families receiving Food Stamps by providing food assistance for up to one year.
The act also contains several reports and studies on child care, child support amounts kept by families on Reach Up, and asset limitations as barriers to asset building.
Related to this act is language in the appropriations act which requires that TANF funds be used for the earned income tax credit in order to enhance the states ability to claim maintenance-of-effort funds under the federal rules.
Effective Date: Varies by program
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street