This week, Governor Brownback signed the HOPE Act into law. This welfare reform legislation equips struggling Kansans with the work training they need to shatter the cycle of generational poverty. The HOPE Act, which codifies our welfare-to-work policies, allows us to help more Kansans find a new path and career as they experience the dignity, independence, and economic security gained through work.
This belief has driven our Kansas welfare policies, and the results show it’s working. In one year, from December 2013 to December 2014, these policies helped more than 6,100 Kansas TANF recipients find well-paying jobs. This work helps empower individuals to take control of their own lives, giving recipients better education, job training, and self-confidence.
There has been much discussion concerning the vendors expressly prohibited from accepting EBT cards for payment. This list, which mirrors federally prohibited vendors, simply prevents the abuse of TANF money and helps ensure it is spent on food and basic necessities to help those in need. It represents fiscal responsibility.
The HOPE Act also changes lifetime use limitations from 48-months to 36-months. Most TANF recipients enroll in the program for just 18-months. Understanding that government should empower citizens to live life free from the bondage of poverty and government dependence, this program is designed to provide temporary assistance. We’ve also decreased the time it takes to determine eligibility from an average 30 days to 10 days, so Kansans can receive work training sooner.
The most effective way to fight poverty is to fight for individuals who are struggling to break out from under its heavy burden. If you are willing to work hard, the American Dream should be within your reach, not kept hidden by government programs that foster dependency instead of opportunity.
As Governor Brownback said after signing the HOPE Act, “Instead of focusing on a war against poverty, we will focus on fighting for the poor among us by offering them hope and opportunity.”