This Act removes the prohibition against receipt of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (“TANF” also referred to by the name Aid for Families with Dependent Children or “AFDC”) funds by persons convicted of a drug felony, so long as that person is otherwise eligible or TANF assistance. Even though federal laws such as PRWORA passed during the War on Drugs frequently prohibited access to public assistance for persons with drug felonies, these laws also gave states flexibility in determining eligibility for food aid and cash assistance for families with children when applicants had a criminal conviction. The majority of states have limited the federal bans in whole or in part. In 2011, Delaware opted out of restrictions on food aid, but it has not opted out of or limited federal restrictions on TANF—the cash assistance program that is the principal form of assistance available to most families in poverty to pay for things like electricity bills or school supplies. Under existing law, individuals convicted of any state or federal drug felony, including possession of marijuana (which can be a felony under federal law), are ineligible for TANF for life. Although the children of a parent convicted of a drug crime can still receive assistance, the family’s overall award is significantly reduced, and in practice this affects the well-being of families and children.
Signed by Governor
Passed By Senate. Votes: 18 YES 3 ABSENT
Reported Out of Committee (Health, Children & Social Services) in Senate with 3 Favorable, 1 On Its Merits
Assigned to Health, Children & Social Services Committee in Senate
Passed By House. Votes: 37 YES 1 NO 3 ABSENT
Reported Out of Committee (Health & Human Development) in House with 4 Favorable, 8 On Its Merits
Introduced and Assigned to Health & Human Development Committee in House
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