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Grassroots Action Center

Urgent Action: Short-term Relief for Families in Deep Poverty

Please ask your state legislators to support House Docket 4951, Act to Provide Short Term Relief to Families in Deep Poverty, filed on Tuesday by Rep. Marjorie Decker (Cambridge) and Sen. Sal DiDomenico (Everett).
 
This bill provides an immediate one-time supplemental cash payment in the amount of the maximum monthly benefit for the household size to:

  • 30,000 families with children who receive Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) benefits, and
  • 19,000 elders and persons with disabilities who receive Emergency Aid to Elders, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) benefits. 

The benefits for these programs are very low. The maximum TAFDC benefit for a family of three with no countable income is $593 a month. The maximum EAEDC benefit for an elder or disabled person with no countable income is $303 a month. Beneficiaries struggle to pay for basic necessities such as toilet paper, diapers, laundry detergent and over-the-counter medicine. 

The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has hit these families and individuals especially hard.  A family who already struggles to pay for toilet paper is even less able to meet the need when family members are home all day and using more than usual. Utility bills will go up when people are home all day as well. SNAP (food stamp) benefits will run out sooner because children are not getting breakfast and lunch at school. Parents with part-time jobs may lose them or be unable to work because their children are not in school.

As part of the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we must help the very poorest families and individuals meet their basic needs. Once enacted, the short-term benefit can be implemented very quickly because the state already has an electronic system to issue benefits to these families and individuals. 

For more information about our campaign to Lift Kids Out of Deep Poverty by raising ongoing cash assistance grants, visit liftourkidsma.org.

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