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HomeNewsArchivesNEEDY FAMILY AID DEADLINE IS NEXT YEAR

NEEDY FAMILY AID DEADLINE IS NEXT YEAR

Oct. 25, 2001 — Hundreds of people in the Virgin Islands will be affected when a welfare reform deadline rolls around next July.
Human Services Department Commissioner Sedonie Halbert told members of the Senate Committee on Youth and Human Services that 244 people will be directly affected when aspects of the federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program ends on July 1, 2002. Welfare reform was approved by the federal government in 1996 and limits the amount of time individuals can receive open-ended aid.
People receiving aid since 1996 will no longer be eligible come July, Halbert said. She said two-thirds of the TANF recipients in the territory reside on St. Croix. In 1997, there were some 1,400 individuals receiving TANF aid. Halbert said the average profile of recipients were multi-generational welfare mothers 35 years old with four children. The average educational level of the mother was sixth grade.
Halbert said her department is planning to conduct workshops with aid recipients and employers about the Welfare to Work Program and the upcoming deadline. The department will also implement programs to help families make the transition off aid and into the workforce.
"It is especially necessary if the current economic downturn exists" in July, she said.
Halbert said she hopes the federal government takes the economic situation into account when the deadline nears, even as the number of aid recipients decreases.
"Because we continue to see a decline in caseloads, the impact of the time limit is minimized by not enough to avert a major impact on the community," Halbert said.

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Oct. 25, 2001 -- Hundreds of people in the Virgin Islands will be affected when a welfare reform deadline rolls around next July.
Human Services Department Commissioner Sedonie Halbert told members of the Senate Committee on Youth and Human Services that 244 people will be directly affected when aspects of the federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program ends on July 1, 2002. Welfare reform was approved by the federal government in 1996 and limits the amount of time individuals can receive open-ended aid.
People receiving aid since 1996 will no longer be eligible come July, Halbert said. She said two-thirds of the TANF recipients in the territory reside on St. Croix. In 1997, there were some 1,400 individuals receiving TANF aid. Halbert said the average profile of recipients were multi-generational welfare mothers 35 years old with four children. The average educational level of the mother was sixth grade.
Halbert said her department is planning to conduct workshops with aid recipients and employers about the Welfare to Work Program and the upcoming deadline. The department will also implement programs to help families make the transition off aid and into the workforce.
"It is especially necessary if the current economic downturn exists" in July, she said.
Halbert said she hopes the federal government takes the economic situation into account when the deadline nears, even as the number of aid recipients decreases.
"Because we continue to see a decline in caseloads, the impact of the time limit is minimized by not enough to avert a major impact on the community," Halbert said.