Date: April 19, 1995
Contact: Michael Kharfen (202) 401-9215
HHS Approves Missouri Welfare Demonstration
HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala has approved "Missouri Families - Mutual Responsibility Plan," a statewide welfare demonstration project that emphasizes work, parental responsibility and self-sufficiency. Missouri is the 26th state to receive approval to implement a welfare reform demonstration under the Clinton administration.
Under Missouri's demonstration all Aid to Families with Dependent Children recipients must, unless exempted, sign and fulfill a self-sufficiency agreement that establishes a plan for work and a two-year time limit on benefits. The agreement allows an additional two years if necessary to achieve self-sufficiency.
"Now more than half the states have the opportunity to do real welfare reform -- moving people into work, promoting parental responsibility and protecting children," said Secretary Shalala. "Missouri's innovative demonstration reinforces the values of work and helps people move from dependence to independence."
Participants who are not self-sufficient by the end of the time limit will be required to participate in job search or work experience programs. Adults who have received AFDC benefits for 36 months or longer and have completed their agreement by leaving AFDC will not be eligible for further benefits, with good cause exceptions. Children's benefits will not be affected by this provision.
Recognizing that young people need supervision and support, Missouri's demonstration requires that minor parents must, with some exceptions, live with their parents or guardians to be eligible for AFDC.
To promote responsibility and increase child support payments, non-custodial parents in some counties who volunteer for the state's JOBS program will receive a credit against child support arrearages owed to the state.
"Missouri's approach offers more opportunity to move people from welfare to work but also demands more personal responsibility in return," said Mary Jo Bane, assistant secretary for children and families. "We have to make personal responsibility, not welfare, a way of life."
To further help recipients become self-sufficient, Missouri will raise the resource limit and allow minor parents who are full-time students to keep all the money they earn. The project also encourages young, two-parent families to work and stay together by waiving the requirement that the principal wage earner work fewer than 100 hours per month for the family to be eligible to receive AFDC, when at least one parent is under 21. In addition, the project allows recipients to own one automobile, without regard to its value.
The demonstration will operate for five years, and will include a rigorous evaluation.
(A fact sheet outlining all the welfare waivers approved under the Clinton administration is available from the HHS Press Office, (202) 690-6343.)