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Arizona Cuts Back Federal Program To Aid Needy Families

Published: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - 8:05am
Updated: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - 8:51am

Poor Arizona families receiving federal benefits may find themselves cut from the program next year.

The state is imposing a one-year lifetime limit for residents who are part of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program.

The move is expected to cut benefits to about 1,600 Arizona families by July 2017 and save the state an estimated $4 million per year.

Arizona Community Action Association Executive Director Cynthia Zwick said it’s the wrong place to cut.

“Materials that are coming out of the governor’s office say that it’s a cost-cutting measure. That we’ve got a tight budget and we’ve got to save money somewhere,” she said.

Zwick, whose organization works with impoverished families in Arizona, says it will have a negative effect on children.

“The program is essentially going to cut in half the number of families that are currently enrolled come July 1. I think what tends to get overlooked in this whole discussion is that 63 percent of those affected are children,” she said.

The Phoenix Business Journal reported trimming the TANF program back to a one year limit is estimated to save the state $3.9 million a year.

“I think it’s really short-sighted action, and the reason that they’re cut is very simply the amount of time that they’ve been recipients of this program’s benefit,” Zwick said.