TOPEKA – Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Phyllis Gilmore announced today, that the federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, has now provided guidance that the previously-enacted $25 ATM limit for cash assistance clients “would seem to prevent a needy TANF family from having ‘adequate access to their cash assistance.’” The guidance was provided by email on Aug. 3 to DCF, as part of a list of questions regarding the limit, after DCF submitted its TANF state plan last month.
“This agency did not propose the $25 cash assistance withdrawal limit,” DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said. “This was an amendment offered during legislative debate. At the time of discussion on the floor, DCF advised against such a low limit. I’m pleased that we now have the guidance needed to rescind this measure.”
In April, the Kansas HOPE Act, the most comprehensive welfare reform in the nation, was signed into law. The $25 ATM withdrawal limit amendment was included. Later, a fix to the amendment was implemented. That language allowed for only one situation in which the DCF Secretary is allowed to raise or rescind the $25 ATM withdrawal limit for TANF: namely, to “ensure continued appropriation of the TANF block grant through compliance with the provisions of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 which governs adequate access to cash assistance.” Only if we were informed by HHS ACF that the $25 ATM withdraw limit for TANF was out of compliance with federal law and would threaten the TANF block grant, would the Secretary have the authority to raise or rescind the $25 limit.
DCF submitted its TANF state plan on July 30, and was awaiting federal guidance. That guidance was provided yesterday, and today, Secretary Gilmore used the authority granted by the State of Kansas to rescind the limit.
“Although there is no ATM withdrawal limit in place, we encourage clients to use their assistance for necessities as they work toward self-sufficiency, through our employment services programs,” Secretary Gilmore said.