Several provisions in last year's welfare reform bill had nothing to do with the goals of welfare reform. The President said so at the time and promised to work to correct these provisions. That's why he fought to ensure that any agreement protects the most vulnerable in our society. The President fought to better protect:
CHILDRENKEEPING THE MEDICAID GUARANTEE. Preserves the Federal guarantee of Medicaid coverage for the vulnerable populations who depend on it, and contains additional investments to extend coverage to uninsured children. Also ensures that 30,000 disabled children losing SSI because of the new tighter eligibility criteria keep their Medicaid coverage.
CURRENT RECIPIENTS. Restores both SSI and Medicaid benefits for immigrants now receiving assistance, ensuring that they will not be turned out of their apartments or nursing homes or otherwise left helpless.
CURRENT RESIDENT NONRECIPIENTS. Does not change the rules retroactively. Immigrants in the country as of August 22, 1996 but not receiving benefits at that time who subsequently become disabled will also be fully eligible for SSI and Medicaid benefits. The budget will restore benefits to over 350,000 legal immigrants in FY 2002.
REFUGEES AND ASYLEES. Extends the SSI and Medicaid eligibility period for refugees and asylees from 5 years after entry (the limit in the welfare bill) to 7 years to give these residents more time to naturalize. Adopts Administration proposal to treat Cuban and Haitian entrants and Amerasian immigrants as refugees to preserve benefits for these groups that have endured extraordinary hardships.
POOR ELDERLY AND DISABLED, INCLUDING CITIZENS
RECIPIENTS OF STATE SSI SUPPLEMENTS. Does not include the House-passed provision that would have repealed the maintenance-of-effort requirement applying to State supplementation of SSI benefits which would have permitted States to reduce or eliminate benefits to almost 3 million poor blind, elderly and disabled individuals.
PEOPLE WHO WANT TO WORK BUT CAN'T FIND A JOB
235,000 MORE WORK SLOTS. Last year's welfare reform bill restricted food stamps for able-bodied childless adults to only 3 out of every 36 months, unless they were working. This move ignored the fact that finding a job often takes time. The budget bill provides nearly $1 billion for an estimated 235,000 work slots over 5 years and food stamp benefits to those who are willing to work but, through no fault of their own, have not yet found employment.
ALLOWS STATES TO EXEMPT UP TO 15 PERCENT OF THE FOOD STAMP RECIPIENTS (70,000 Individuals Monthly) WHO WOULD OTHERWISE BE DENIED BENEFITS AS A RESULT OF THE "3 IN 36" LIMIT.