NMCAN and young parents have been collaborating with the New Mexico Center for Law and Poverty (NMCLP) and Crossroads for Women, to bring light to the issues families face in accessing benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Centering the voices and experiences of families who have attempted to or are eligible to access TANF benefits, we are working to propose solutions to make the program more accessible for families and to educate decision makers on the barriers and potential solutions.
TANF has intensive requirements that cap a qualifying applicant’s liquid assets and monthly income, dictate the number of hours they can work, demand the parent pursue the other parent for child support, and require the parent to attend classes and submit monthly paperwork. This complex web of requirements leads to many families being denied access to benefits, and the disqualification of families that do qualify, after a few months.
Current regulations allow the state to intercept child support payments and tax refunds to families and children as reimbursement for the TANF benefits the other parent received. Instead, we asked that the state fully fund the Child Support Enforcement Division, and allow these child support payments to go directly to the children in need. The Governor signed this change into law last week!
This critical win is the first step of many, as we continue to fight for policies that support and uplift families in our state. You can learn more by watching this video or reading our featured news articles about the work we are doing.