The center focuses on health care access, immigrants' access to services, food and nutrition, the state's eligibility and enrollment system, and TANF.

Recent Public Benefits Publications

Many Federal Programs May Be Forced to Verify Citizenship, Exclude Undocumented for First Time (12/19/1997)

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), included language directing that "unqualified" immigrants would no longer be eligible for "federal public benefits."

Welfare-to-Work Grants: New Funding Available to Texas and Local Communities (10/31/1997)

With the passage of the Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997, $3 billion in new federal money is available to help states and communities move families from welfare to work. The state of Texas is eligible to receive up to $75 million of these funds in federal fiscal year (FFY) 1998 and at least $70 million in FFY 1999.

Childless Adult Food Stamp Recipients: Old Rules, New Rules, and New Options (10/1/1997)

This policy page will review the policies impacting childless adults who receive food stamps, examine what Texas is doing, and offer some options for better serving clients.

The Balanced Budget Act of 1997: Highlights of Child Health Block Grant and Medicaid Provisions (09/24/1997)

On August 5, the President signed into law the federal budget reconciliation act for federal FY 1998, officially titled the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The Act includes a wide variety of important provisions; this Policy Page describes in a summary way important changes in Medicaid and Medicaid Managed Care policy, as well as the new child health block grant.

The Balanced Budget Act of 1997: Immigrant Policy Provisions (09/19/1997)

On August 5, the President signed into law the federal budget reconciliation act for FFY 1998, officially titled the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The Act includes a wide variety of important provisions; this Policy Page describes in a summary way important changes in immigrants' eligibility for public benefits.

Privatization of Health and Human Services Eligibility Determination (09/1/1997)

With a now defunct proposal to privatize its eligibility determination system for health and human services, Texas has been a national leader in the arena of social services privatization. Since 1995, Texas has been developing a plan to award a seven-year, $2.8 billion (estimate) contract to a private company (or a public/private partnership) to operate the state's eligibility system.

"Diversion" Ruling to Add Hurdles to Applying for TANF Assistance (08/12/1997)

On July 18th the Texas Department of Human Services (TDHS) considered and adopted as a proposed rule a significant change to TANF cash assistance eligibility policy. The proposed rule would require that all applicants for TANF assistance attend a "work orientation" session at the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) to become eligible for assistance.

Food and Nutrition Update (08/6/1997)

Almost a year after the passage of Welfare Reform, members of Congress managed to retain some of the benefits lost during lost year's welfare overhaul. Congressional members will adjourn for recess (August 2-September 2) and return in September to conclude appropriations for FY98 food and nutrition programs. Here is a brief look at what has passed and what is pending.

The TANF Block Grant and the State Budget (08/1/1997)

This Policy Page will report on the final decisions on allocation of the TANF block grant and provide details of how the TANF surplus was finally allocated.

More Key Medicaid and Health Issues in Senate and House Budget Bills (07/24/1997)

This Policy Page provides additional updated information on House and Senate budget proposals to add to the information included in PP #52 of 7/9/97. Negotiations are underway, and a compromise bill is sought before the August 2 break.

Health and Immigrant Benefit Issues Update (07/9/1997)

This Issue of Policy Page provides information on immigrant SSI changes, DSH cuts, and child health proposals included in the House and Senate Federal Budget Bills, and a status report on implementation of federal benefit cuts for legal immigrants in Texas.

U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Retreats from Bipartisan Budget Agreement (06/13/1997)

Shaw proposal would deny SSI to more disabled legal immigrants.

Welfare Reform Legislation in the Last Days of the Session (05/22/1997)

This policy page will report on the status of key welfare reform legislation as the end of the session nears.

TANF Workgroup to Present Plan to Conference Committee (05/5/1997)

The TANF Workgroup of the Budget Conference Committee completed its deliberations on April 24th and produced a report of their recommendations last week. Read a summary of TANF Workgroup Recommendations (dollars in millions).

Key Programs Need Funding as Conference Committee Considers Welfare, Health and Human Service Issues (05/2/1997)

The Conference Committee on the State Budget, which has the job of taking the House and Senate adopted budgets and coming up with a final compromise budget, will discuss allocation of funds for Health and Human Service programs the week of May 5. Planning for the allocation of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant has been underway for several weeks. However, many major issues regarding HHS funding are expected to be left pending until HB 4, the property tax bill, is finalized.

TANF Workgroup Begins Deliberations (04/16/1997)

Last Thursday the TANF Workgroup met for the first time to begin deliberations on the Senate and House TANF plans. This Workgroup will decide how Texas will allocate its TANF surplus. While many important initiatives are contained in both the House and Senate plans, pressures to supplant general revenue with TANF funds and to hold aside a contingency fund threaten to dramatically reduce the TANF funds available.

Welfare Bills are Moving (03/27/1997)

Thirteen bills are scheduled to be heard and public testimony taken. The bills scheduled for hearing include some very problematic provisions and some that would be positive changes to public assistance. Among them is HB 3431, the companion bill to SB 1067, the only legislation offering direct assistance with the impact of benefits cuts to legal immigrants.

House and Senate TANF Spending Plans Fall Short in Meeting Needs of TANF Recipients (03/14/1997)

The House and Senate are discussing proposals for spending the $393 millioni Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) surplus. Although both are good starting points, neither represents the final product. We anticipate further work on these plans, particularly in the Senate since the Finance Committee has not yet debated allocating TANF.

Alert: Waiver for 18-50 year-old Food Stamp Recipients Reduced (03/10/1997)

The federal Welfare Bill (H.R. 3734) contains new limits on food stamp benefits for able-bodied, childless adults between the ages of 18 and 50.

Health and Immigration Issues & the Federal Welfare Act: Texas Update (02/18/1997)

In this Policy Page we provide an update on the latest information regarding the provisions of the Welfare Act. The ultimate impact of a number of health-related provisions is not yet clear.

House and Senate Budget Committees Consider TANF Surplus (02/8/1997)

There is an estimated $358.2 million in excess TANF funds in the coming biennium. There is also the potential of excess state general revenue as well.

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