While barriers to self-sufficiency do include substance abuse and addiction, a better approach is Senate Bill 413, introduced by state Sen. John Broden, D-South Bend. Broden’s bill would eliminate the TANF asset test.
Thomas said states that have eliminated the TANF asset test (Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, Hawaii, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Alabama and Maryland) have not seen a surge in TANF applications “because there are already so many hoops you have to jump through” such as work, education and training requirements and personal interviews.
Indiana’s elimination of asset tests is predicted to be “cost neutral” but other states have reported overall savings. In 2012, the year before Illinois eliminated its TANF asset tests, the Illinois Department of Human Services found only eight cases in 192,000 asset limit checks that were over the limit. It cost Illinois more than $960,000 to find those eight cases.
Thomas said the current TANF asset limit in Indiana prohibiting savings of more than $1,000 sends a message to low‐income families that saving is a behavior that warrants punishment. Asset limits create a cycle of reliance on welfare.
HB 1351 — which is costly — is moving steadily through the General Assembly.
Meanwhile, SB 413, which would encourage TANF families to accumulate the assets they need to transition off of public assistance, is not expected to go anywhere.
— KPC News
THE ISSUE House Bill 1351 would require drug testing for all families receiving TANF. THEIR VIEW Indiana Legislature should focus on efforts that help families transition off welfare