New Public Aid Laws, Budget Now in Effect
Byline: Patricia Lindner
The arrival of July 1 means many important things to the state of Illinois. Several laws that were passed by the state legislature became effective, the new $35.6 billion budget began, and the new Department of Human Services is now in operation to help public aid recipients move from welfare to work.
House Republicans began working in 1995 and 1996 to help move welfare recipients into the work force to reduce their dependence on the state and its taxpayers.
This year, the legislature created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, eliminating Aid to Families with Dependent Children. The legislation corresponds with federal laws to change the welfare system, as we know it, making the program temporary instead of a way of earning a living.
The new TANF program sets a five-year limit for receiving public assistance and as its centerpiece, requires that all recipients develop a personal plan for self-sufficiency. Welfare recipients will list the steps they plan to take from moving off the welfare roles and getting a job. The plan additionally creates a single child care system to accommodate the needs of those making the transition from welfare to work. The legislature realized that some parents who receive aid are unable to get a job since they cannot afford child care. The new program provides additional funding to allow these parents to find good care for their children and begin work.
The New Hire Child Support Task Force, of which I was a member, drafted a law to comply with federal regulations in the new welfare act. The law requires employers to report new hires within 20 days, rather than quarterly. States who have implemented this law have collected millions more in child support, helping to keep people off welfare.
A separate new law provides incentives for parents on public assistance to ensure their children are attending school on a regular basis. …