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Block grant should strengthen families with disabilities economically, says NCD

April 8, 2003 -- The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant, first created in 1996 to replace Aid to Families with Dependent Children, is likely to be reauthorized by Congress in the next few months. Advocates are seeking as part of the reauthorization to strengthen protections for parents and children with disabilities participating in these block grant programs.

"It is important that the law establish policies that reflect both the intention and desire of people with disabilities to work, and the reality that certain individuals may still have severe work limitations requiring long-term assistance," says the National Council on Disability, which has issued a position paper on TANF and people with disabilities. Read paper from NCD.

"While the TANF program is not specifically directed towards individuals with disabilities, research data indicate far-reaching effects of this program on people with disabilities," says the Council. The General Accounting Office notes that a substantially higher proportion of TANF recipients reported having physical or mental impairments than did adults in the non-TANF population. Many families using the program include a child with a disability.

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant "presents a great opportunity to creatively design programs that can give parents with disabilities, and parents of children with disabilities, the training and support they need to secure and maintain employment. Some states and communities are already collaboratively working to help people with disabilities prepare for and sustain employment. Greater national emphasis on systemic collaboration and review of policies and legislation among federal, state, and local entities that bring consumers with disabilities to the table and begin dialogue and actions would serve to remove barriers and create real opportunities for people with disabilities to transition from welfare to work."

"For many people with disabilities, TANF, if appropriately designed, could provide the tools and access needed to unlock doors to opportunity, productivity, and economic self-sufficiency," says the Council.

The NCD position paper "TANF and disability-importance of supports for families with disabilities in welfare reform" summarizes research about people with disabilities and TANF and some of the proposals being offered for consideration to improve how TANF-funded programs address the needs of families with a member with a disability, and offers recommendations. Read paper.






Read the EEOC's Primer for Small Business on complying with the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act




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