Kansas Lawmakers Cut Welfare Benefits, Approve Medicaid Drug Step Therapy

 

In its next-to-last act of 2016, the state Legislature passed a bill cutting welfare benefits and requiring low-income Medicaid patients to try cheaper treatments before more expensive drugs could be prescribed.

 

The bill

SB 402

 

The votes

 

79-43 in the House, 27-13 in the Senate

 

How SB 402 changes welfare

 

The bill contains several provisions to cut Temporary Aid to Needy Families, including:

 

“Reducing lifetime limit on receiving TANF benefits from 36 months to 24 months. If any adult in a household has met that limit, no one in the household would be eligible.

 

“People who had previously received a TANF diversion payment would be limited to 18 months of lifetime eligibility for TANF payments.

 

“Removing $25 limit on welfare ATM withdrawals, which federal officials said was illegal and threatened Kansas’ access to federal funding.

 

“Revoking eligibility if any recipient in a household fails to participate in work or job training required by the Department of Children and Families.

 

An exemption in the work requirement for parents with a child under 3 months of age would not apply if an adult in the household has received TANF assistance for more than 24 months.

 

Arguments for

 

“The changes will save millions of dollars for the state.

 

“Reduced welfare eligibility forces able-bodied adults to go to work, the most effective way to lift families out of poverty.

 

“The changes will prevent people who are living together from gaming the system by having different adults apply for benefits when one has exhausted his or her eligibility.

 

“Approximately 80 percent of voters support work requirements for welfare recipients.

 

Arguments against

 

“The bill penalizes multi-generation families where a parent or grandparent has exhausted TANF eligibility.

 

“Women with newborn babies could be forced to go back to work too soon after giving birth if a family member has exhausted his or her TANF eligibility.

 

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The Wichita Eagle       Published on May 1, 2016

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