Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

State Releases Welfare Reforms

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

State Releases Welfare Reforms

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- Welfare recipients would be limited to four years of

benefits and teen mothers forced to stay in school to get checks

under the Georgia welfare reform proposal submitted to the

federal government yesterday.

The plan calls for Georgians to be dumped from the rolls if

they are convicted of a drug felony or don't comply with

mandatory work rules. Adult recipients would be sanctioned if

their kids aren't in school, and non-citizen legal immigrants

would be eligible for only 12 months of welfare.

Gov. Zell Miller said the proposal, submitted in response to

the sweeping welfare reform bill passed by Congress and signed

into law by President Clinton in August, builds on measures

already in place in Georgia.

Georgia's welfare rolls have been declining for two years, in

part because of the state's strong economy and the "Work First"

program, which emphasizes finding jobs for recipients.

Department of Human Resources figures show the count of

families receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children

checks has declined more than 20,000 since August 1994.

Each state is filing a plan to comply with the federal welfare

reform statute. Georgia's went to the U.S. Department of Health

and Human Services yesterday.

The state will hold public hearings and have a 45-day comment

period. Miller's goal is for the final plan to take effect Jan.

1, although parts of the proposal might need action from the

General Assembly, which starts meeting in mid-January.

Georgia is expected to get about $330 million from the federal

government to spend on its welfare program next year. The state

likely will kick in at least another $200 million.

Under the plan:

Cash assistance would be limited to four years.

Anyone applying for assistance will have to begin working,

looking for a job, be participating in training or taking

classes. …

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