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A First in U.S., Arizona Sets 1-Year Lifetime Limit on Welfare

Arizona will become the first and only state to impose a one-year lifetime limit for impoverished households receiving federal benefits from the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program – a move that will cut payments to about 1,600 families in July.

Arizona will become the first and only state to impose a one-year lifetime limit for impoverished households receiving federal benefits from the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program – a move that will cut payments to about 1,600 families in July.

 

“I think what we have in Arizona is an aggressive and intentional effort to undermine support for vulnerable families,” said Cynthia Zwick, executive director for the Arizona Community Action Association. “Well, I’m worried that many of those families will end up on the streets, they will become homeless. They will not have the resources they need for their children, that their children will be placed in unsafe circumstances.”

 

The program, known as TANF, is supposed to help to parents as they look for jobs and provide a temporary financial safety net when they cannot work.

 

A spokesperson for the Arizona Department of of Economic Security, which also oversees foster care and child safety services, declined to be interviewed, but in an email said the state expects to save $325,000 per month and $3.9 million per year. Cronkite News also made three requests for comment from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, but did not receive a response.

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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