After Backlash, Arizona Funds Welfare During Shutdown

Days after her administration said thousands of Arizona’s poorest families would not get welfare checks because of the federal shutdown, Gov. Jan Brewer late Monday ordered the state’s safety-net agency to make this month’s payments.
October 8, 2013

Days after her administration said thousands of Arizona’s poorest families would not get welfare checks because of the federal shutdown, Gov. Jan Brewer late Monday ordered the state’s safety-net agency to make this month’s payments.

READ: Full coverage of the shutdown's impact on states and localities

But on the same day, the state Department of Economic Security told nearly 250 workers to stay home without pay, stalling the application process for disability benefits in another blow to Arizona’s most vulnerable residents from the weeklong budget impasse.

Last week, the DES said roughly 5,200 eligible low-income families with children would be denied payments under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. National policy experts said Arizona appeared to be the only state to have withheld the cash assistance.

In a statement, however, Brewer said just 3,200 families had not received benefits for October. The governor’s statement did not indicate where the DES would get the additional funding or why the number of affected families was significantly lower that the DES estimate.

Her office did not return requests for further comment.

Brewer’s action comes after increasing pressure from key Democratic leaders and advocacy organizations, who publicly urged the governor to find the money for the state’s poorest families.

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