Date: Friday, Aug. 16, 1996
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michael Kharfen, (202) 401-9215
HHS APPROVES HAWAII WELFARE WAIVER
HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala today announced approval of "Pursuit of New Opportunities," a statewide demonstration for Hawaii. This is the second waiver application approved for Hawaii and the 74th state demonstration approved under the Clinton Administration.
Under the demonstration, Hawaii will limit Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) benefits to five years for families with an employable adult, with some exceptions. The maximum grant amount for non-exempt families will be reduced by 20 percent after two full months of eligibility.
"As President Clinton prepares to sign historic welfare reform legislation that fulfills his principles of requiring work and promoting parental responsibility and protecting children, he also continues his commitment to state flexibility," said Secretary Shalala. "This waiver builds on Hawaii's promising demonstration and lays a strong foundation for its new welfare program."
To make work pay more than welfare, the state will increase the earnings disregard and asset limits. The income of minor students will be excluded from the household's income, along with student loans. The full value of one vehicle used for employment will be exempted.
To encourage two-parent families in their transition from welfare to work, mothers or fathers will be able to work more than 100 hours a month and retain eligibility. Also, minor parents without a high school diploma or GED will be required to participate in educational activities.
"With this demonstration, Hawaii moves closer to ending welfare as we know it," said Mary Jo Bane, assistant secretary for children and families. "Hawaii families will now have a new opportunity to achieve self-sufficiency."
This waiver approval will replace Hawaii's current "Creating Work Opportunities for JOBS Families" demonstration. The new demonstration will operate for eight years, and include a rigorous evaluation.
Under the welfare reform bill passed by Congress, states that have waivers approved prior to the law's enactment generally may continue their waivers even when they conflict with the legislation.