Date: Tuesday, Feb. 6, 1996
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michael Kharfen (202) 401-9215
HHS APPROVES AMENDMENT TO MISSISSIPPI WELFARE DEMONSTRATION
HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala has approved an amendment to Mississippi's Work First component of the New Direction Demonstration Project. This is the third waiver demonstration approved for Mississippi under the Clinton administration.
"With each set of amendments, Mississippi builds on a comprehensive demonstration that reflects President Clinton's principles of work, parental responsibility and protection of children," said Secretary Shalala. "Even as Congress fails to enact real welfare reform, the Clinton administration is helping states reform welfare now one at a time."
The amendment will encourage more welfare recipients to move from welfare to work by making families on Aid to Families with Dependent Children less than 3 months eligible for transitional Medicaid and child care. Also, the state will sanction recipients who are exempt from participating in JOBS, such as a mother with a child under 3, who volunteer for JOBS and then drop out of the program without good cause.
"Mississippi recognizes that extended child care and Medicaid are critical to ensure that families leaving welfare keep their jobs," said Mary Jo Bane, assistant secretary for children and families. "The state also makes work pay more than welfare by providing an incentive to get a job quicker."
The Work First component of the Mississippi New Direction Demonstration Project was first approved in December 1994. In six counties, AFDC and food stamp benefits can be used to supplement wages in private sector jobs, and in two other counties, higher income ceilings allow recipients to earn more before they lose their AFDC eligibility.
The Mississippi New Direction Demonstration Project will operate until the year 2000 and will include a rigorous evaluation.