Governor Charlie Baker has signed the upcoming fiscal year's state budget, but he vetoed a signification section that would stop the state from denying welfare benefits to children conceived while their family is already receiving benefits. Jamaica Plain's State Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez, D-15th Suffolk, has fought to "Lift the Cap for Kids" and vowed to continue his fight.
“I appreciate the governor signing the FY19 budget in a timely manner and am currently reviewing his vetoes. At first glance, I’m disappointed that he did not accept the section repealing the family cap. This is a regressive policy that unfairly denies Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) benefits to nearly 9,000 children in Massachusetts simply because of the time they were born," said Sánchez to Jamaica Plain News.
Instead of lifting the cap, Baker sent the provision back to lawmakers suggesting an amendment that would tie the income of parents to welfare eligibility laws.
suggesting instead in an amendment that would repeal the cap but also require SSI to be countable income for the purposes of determining TAFDC eligibility for all recipients.
Sánchez added that the Massachusetts House would address the governor’s amendment, "...even if it requires standalone action next session.”
The Family Cap "denies welfare benefits to children conceived while - or soon after - the family received benefits," according to masslegalservices.org. Welfare benefits are $578 per month for a family of three, but only $478 if one of the children is excluded by the cap, and welfare benefits go up by about $100 a month as family size increase.
“As a commonwealth, we are compelled to help our most vulnerable families provide basic necessities for their children. Repealing the family cap was an important component in that effort. Instead, the governor has proposed a significant policy change where 5,200 children would lose all of their TAFDC and another 2,100 would have their benefits drastically reduced," said Sánchez.