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Welfare Reform: Family Cap Policies

Family Cap Policies

Welfare benefits are most often calculated based on family size.  Many states passed family cap policies, which deny additional benefits or reduce the cash grant to families who have additional children while on assistance.  According to the Welfare Rules Database from the Urban Institute, and NCSL legislative summaries, at least 19 states currently have a family cap policy and an additional two states have a flat cash assistance grant regardless of family size.  Most of these state policies were passed in or around 1996 - 1997. 

Since 1997, some states have revised their policies.  Minnesota first implemented their policy in 2003.  Illinois repealed their family cap effective January 2004, and Maryland repealed their provision in September 2004.

State

Traditional Cash Increment Denied

Traditional Cash Increment Reduced

Child’s Benefit in Voucher Form1

Flat grant regardless of family size

Arizona2

X

 

 

 

Arkansas

X

 

 

 

California

X

 

 

 

Connecticut

 

X

 

 

Delaware

X

 

 

 

Florida

 

X

 

 

Georgia3

X

 

 

 

Idaho

 

 

 

X

Indiana

X

 

 

 

Massachusetts

X

 

 

 

Minnesota

X

 

 

 

Mississippi

X

 

 

 

New Jersey4

X

 

 

 

North Carolina

X

 

 

 

North Dakota

X

 

 

 

Oklahoma

 

 

X

 

South Carolina

 

 

X

 

Tennessee

X

 

 

 

Virginia

X

 

 

 

Wisconsin

 

 

 

X

Wyoming

X

 

 

 

1 The family unit does not receive cash for the additional child.  Benefits are available in the form of vouchers.

2 Family units subject to the cap receive an additional eanred income disregard equal to the lost benefit amount

3 If the family has income, the cash benefit may increase but cannot increase higher than the maximum payment for the family size excluding the capped child

4 Family units in New Jersey in which at least one adult member is working are not subject to the cap

Current through July 2009


For more information on welfare reform issues, please contact Rochelle Finzel in the Denver office at 303.364.7700 or cyf-info@ncsl.org.

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