Help strengthen New Mexico’s Family Cash Assistance Program
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is New Mexico’s only source of cash assistance for low-income families with children that helps pay for housing, utilities, and clothing. TANF is administered by New Mexico’s Human Services Department (HSD.) The program, including benefit levels, has not been updated since 1996. TANF only reaches 40% of eligible families because of outdated and punitive requirements that make it difficult to enroll and stay enrolled.
Senate Bill 267, sponsored by Sen. Lopez, Sen. Ortiz y Pino, & Rep. Rubio, would make long overdue modernizations to the TANF program and is scheduled to be heard in its first committee this week. We need your help! Speak out at the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee hearing Friday, February 17, at 1:30pm in room 311 and submit public comments asking legislators to fully pass SB 267 to make TANF work for New Mexico’s families.
Join us in person at the New Mexico State Capitol Building, 490 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501, Room 311.
Click to join via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9124526531
Things you can highlight in your public comment:
- This bill will ensure children aren’t punished if burdensome program rules are not met. NM currently cuts benefits (sanctions) to the whole family when an adult member is alleged to violate a program rule, leaving children without money for basic needs.
- This bill will ensure children who get TANF receive the child support that is intended for them. NM HSD currently retains all but $100-$200 of child support paid to children who participate in TANF.
- This bill will restore exemptions to work requirements for families with significant barriers to employment, like disability or domestic violence, so they can get the help they need without risking their benefit being reduced or terminated and losing critical income during times of crisis.
- This bill will allow TANF participants to pursue their GED, vocational education, or certificate program through the Education Works Program.
- This bill will require HSD to provide ongoing opportunities for families to correct alleged program violations.
Tips for public comment:
Sponsors Sen. Lopez, Sen. Ortiz y Pino, & Rep. Rubio will introduce SB 267 into discussion and ask who is in support. At that time, raise your hand. The Chair will allow 1-2 minutes per comment. Please state your name and where you’re from, and then share why you feel it’s important to make sure important updates to the TANF program are implemented to better support New Mexico’s low income parents and children.