Conger bill to aid needy families advances

Expands eligibility for program

SALEM, Ore. - The House Human Services and Housing Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to pass HB 3440, a bipartisan bill to extend Temporary Assistance for Needy Families aid to struggling families.

"Many Oregon families have fallen on hard times during this recession," said Rep. Jason Conger (R - Bend) one of three chief sponsors of the bill. "Our goal is to get them assistance when they need it most while helping them maintain their independence."

HB 3440 expands eligibility and services for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

The bill requires the Department of Human Services to provide aid to families that would qualify for TANF if the family is experiencing a temporary loss of income due to illness or injury; if the family is likely to become eligible for TANF if the aid is not provided; and to prevent homelessness and assist a caretaker relative in returning to gainful regular employment.

The bill stipulates that total aid paid to a family during a single period of eligibility during calendar year 2013 may not exceed $1,000.

"The problem with public assistance is that it is often just a temporary fix but does nothing to improve the long-term prospects of the recipient," Conger explained. "HB 3440 attempts to do both. It provides immediate relief when the family needs it in order to help them maintain financial security going forward."

HB 3440 now goes to the Ways and Means committee for further review.

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