State legislators urged to extend welfare benefits |

State legislators urged to extend welfare benefits

Jane Stebbins

BRECKENRIDGE – A letter-writing campaign will take place Monday to encourage federal legislators to continue funding a welfare program that helps more than 27,000 people in Colorado.

According to Sue Carr-Novotny, who is heading up the campaign in Summit County, an organization called Bread for the World is working to end hunger in the United States and around the world. One of the ways it gets citizens involved is by encouraging them to write legislators regarding specific laws.

This year, the Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF) – formerly known as welfare – is up for revision and renewal by Congress. Created in 1996, the reform ended the federal entitlement to cash assistance and instead provided states with grants to design and implement their own TANF programs, including setting benefit levels and determining who is eligible for funds.

But the program expires Sept. 30 – unless Congress decides to extend it. Reauthorization would allow advocates to suggest changes to improve the program.

“There is something we can do to help,” Carr-Novotny said.

“Among the goals of Bread for the World are to extend the time limit for families on TANF, increase support for child care and increase assistance for education.”

Families – who must have at least one child – only can receive five years worth of assistance in their lifetime. Even children cannot collect benefits after those five years, and benefits anyone might have received in other states count toward the time limit.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or

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