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Posted at 11:26 AM ET, 12/21/2010

Council modifies welfare proposal

By Tim Craig

The D.C. Council is stepping away from its position to gradually remove all long-term welfare recipients from the rolls, instead embracing a proposal to punish only those families who do not take advantage of job training and placement programs.

Heading into today's final vote on updates to the 2010 budget, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) had put forward a plan phase payments for participants of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program who have been on the rolls for five years or longer.

As initially approved by the council in a vote two weeks ago, the District would reduce payments to those recipients by 20 percent starting in February 2011. A year later, those payments would drop by 40 percent, and by 60 percent the year after that. Within five years, all payments to recipients who have been on the rolls five years or longer would have been eliminated.

But Gray, under pressure from advocates and some council members who argued that the proposal was mean-spirited, has reworked his proposal, according to council sources.

Under the revised proposal, long-term recipients would still lose 20 percent of their payment if they stay on the rolls five years or longer. There would not, however, be a gradual phase-out beyond that.

Instead, the District would adopt what are known as "fully family sanctions" for those recipients who fail to abide by job training and placement requirements. If a recipient is found to be in violation of such requirements, they would be removed from the rolls until they comply.

Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), chairman of the Human Services Committee, called the proposed change "a far more finely tuned plan than" where the council "started."

'When someone is cut off, they will know what they need to get on TANF as they move to self-sufficiency," Wells said after being told of the changes. "It's a plan that looks better for everyone. ... It allows for the (Department of Human Services) to do a full assessment of every family that includes a plan for what they need to do to get to self-sufficiency. "

Wells said he still has concerns about the proposed 20 percent reduction in payments to long-term recipients, but noted that the city is banking on $5 million in savings from the move.

Among the 17,000 families in the city's welfare program, about 40 percent -- or 6,800 -- have been getting benefits for more than five years, receiving an average of $370 a month.

Despite the changes to the initial proposal, council officials caution that Gray and members could revisit the issue of a gradual phase-out next year.

By Tim Craig  | December 21, 2010; 11:26 AM ET
Categories:  Budget, City Finances, D.C. Council, Tim Craig, Vincent C. Gray  
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Comments

im in favor of a gradual phase out, people get up off ur lazy tails and get to work thats the only way u can show ur kids how to be responsible adults

Posted by: JeroRobson1 | December 21, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

"the proposal was mean-spirited"

LOL what a bunch of idiots, get these lazies off of the tax payer money. Eliminate welfare and tax revenues can go to more positive things in the city like new developments, safer areas, more professionals. You could actually reduce taxes and incentify people to move to DC by getting rid of the freeloaders and at the same time reduce the amount of tax revenue needed.

Posted by: WhatBubble | December 21, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

"Among the 17,000 families in the city's welfare program, about 40 percent -- or 6,800 -- have been getting benefits for more than five years, receiving an average of $370 a month."

$6,290,000 a month. Wow! Those 6,800 will never be able to do anything except breed more welfare recipients, anyone that thinks otherwise is being foolish.

How about real welfare reform; like mandatory but temporary birth control injections for these 6,800 families while they stay on the rolls?;

Posted by: civilrightist | December 21, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I agree with Vincent Gray. There shouldn't be a phase out.

Posted by: csamue321 | December 21, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I had high hopes for the council and this legislation.

So disappointing

Posted by: Nosh1 | December 21, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

THIS is why DC will never be given voting in Congress. When the going gets tough, those charged with making difficult and unpopular decisions fold like lawn chairs.
"Mean spirited"...what a joke. A large number of these recipients had no inclination to attempt to get off TANF in the first place and now you've given them even less incentive.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | December 21, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Suckers

Posted by: jennifermb98 | December 21, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

20% after 5 years?!?!?

Should be 20% after the first year, escpecially when 40% of people have OVER 5 YEARS already on the rolls........

Liberalism at its best, keep 'em sucking on the gov't teet

Posted by: jeffreid2 | December 21, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

And people wonders why youth grow up wild. Adults are setting the example and the government turns their heads away to the problem. People on welfare shouldn't be allowed to vote. It all comes around full circle.

Posted by: blackforestcherry | December 21, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

"People on welfare shouldn't be allowed to vote."??? People on welfare should be allowed to breed...

Posted by: michietbrown | December 21, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

This is fine, lets keep the welfare queens in D.C. so democratic liberals can continue to supplement the waste of society they have created.

Posted by: tmi1 | December 21, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Wd6, I did my part in trying to get rid of Wells by voting against him. Now you are stuck with this bum.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | December 21, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse


As a social worker and someone on the front lines I can assure you that there is no need for someone to be on TANF for five years unless they are just freeloading. The programs and initiatives that exist in the city to help people find work and become self-sufficient are a dime a dozen. There are even funds/resources out there to help these folks receive subsidized childcare, reimbursement to get to and from work as well as educational training programs if they do not want to work minimum wage the rest of their lives.

I can’t believe our council members are such cowards to think that instilling some responsibility behind this benefit is "mean-spirited". This reform would be the equivalent of stopping a child's allowance for when they refuse to do their chores. Instead, DC City Council members are the type of parents that spoil their kids until they are rotten and entitled.

Posted by: llharric | December 21, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

As a social worker and someone on the front lines I can assure you that there is no need for someone to be on TANF for five years unless they are just freeloading. The programs and initiatives that exist in the city to help people find work and become self-sufficient are a dime a dozen. There are even funds/resources out there to help these folks receive subsidized childcare, reimbursement to get to and from work as well as educational training programs if they do not want to work minimum wage the rest of their lives.

I can’t believe our council members are such cowards to think that instilling some responsibility behind this benefit is "mean-spirited". This reform would be the equivalent of stopping a child's allowance for when they refuse to do their chores. Instead, DC City Council members are the type of parents that spoil their kids until they are rotten and entitled.

Posted by: llharric | December 21, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad DC does not have a representative or a senator. This town is too stupid to elect competent people. I knew the last two weeks was all for show. Now they can say that everyone is equally burdened while raising taxes on the working families to subsidize the welfare queens with 8 future DYRS kids east of the river.

Posted by: Matt14 | December 21, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

I live in Ward 6. I voted against Wells. He's completely ineffective and does nothing for his constituents.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | December 22, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Wd6, I did my part in trying to get rid of Wells by voting against him. Now Ward 6 is stuck with this bum.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | December 22, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

You had a chance to get rid of them and you chickened out. Shame on you.

Posted by: BigElle | December 22, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

The city is already flooded with residents who have a sense of entitlement. The give me syndrome.
Give me money; but I don’t want to work for it.
Give me housing; but I don’t want to pay market rent.
Give me free child care; but let me go home and rest
Give me free food; but don’t make me purchase healthy food
The syndrome goes on and on. I was excited about the proposed changes but now disgusted with the cowardly decisions of the city council. Why do we want people to depend on the city to care for them? The council should take a look at the surrounding counties and see how their TANF/AFDC systems work. They definitely don’t have 40% on it past five years.

Posted by: vexed1978 | December 22, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

The city is already flooded with residents who have a sense of entitlement. The give me syndrome.
Give me money; but I don’t want to work for it.
Give me housing; but I don’t want to pay market rent.
Give me free child care; but let me go home and rest
Give me free food; but don’t make me purchase healthy food
The syndrome goes on and on. I was excited about the proposed changes but now disgusted with the cowardly decisions of the city council. Why do we want people to depend on the city to care for them? The council should take a look at the surrounding counties and see how their TANF/AFDC systems work. They definitely don’t have 40% on it past five years.

Posted by: vexed1978 | December 22, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

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