What This Amendment Would Do:
This amendment would help low- income residents of the Commonwealth who receive support through the Department of Transitional Assistance gain the education and training they need to obtain living wage jobs and remove state-imposed barriers to developing assets, a key factor in breaking the cycle of poverty.
Specifically this bill would:
- Support access to education and training: Require DTA to provide counseling to help Transitional Assistance for Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) recipients access education and training at little or no cost and encourage clients to obtain the vocational educational training needed to obtain jobs that will enable them to support their families without the need for cash assistance.
- Count vocational education as work: Allow TAFDC recipients to use time spent in vocational education and training programs to meet their work requirements and allows them to obtain time limit extensions to complete such programs.
- Exempt cars from asset limits: Allow TAFDC and EAEDC recipients to own one reliable, non luxury cars to get to work, school, or training.
- Promote asset building: Allows TAFDC and EAEDC recipients to save up to $10,000 received from personal injury settlements or other third-party sources for debt reduction, job training, transportation, or housing.
Why This is Important:
Low- income families often face substantial barriers to gaining and keeping employment and to building the assets – such as a car to drive to work or modest savings – necessary to achieve financial stability and break the cycle of poverty.
Many transitional assistance and education programs are restricted to those with few or no financial assets. This can have the unintended effect of restricting employment options due to a lack of reliable transportation. It can also create disincentives for saving, making it harder for families to become financially stable.
The amendment would increase access to education and training for these families, make it easier for them to have reliable transportation and save money.
The changes contained in the amendment represent a modest investment by the Commonwealth with the high return of maintaining and growing a competitive skilled workforce that is less likely to require future government assistance. This amendment based on recommendations issued by the Massachusetts Asset Development Commission.