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Senator Proposes Bill To Expand Welfare Eligibility

The Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis.

A state senator wants to expand the number of people who are eligible for welfare.

To be eligible for money from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, sometimes known as welfare, Indiana families can earn, at most, nearly $600 a month.

That dollar amount was set 20 years ago and was, at the time, about 50 percent of the federal poverty level. But it hasn’t been raised since, meaning that Hoosier families can now only earn about 35 percent of the federal poverty level.

Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) wants to get rid of the flat dollar amount and instead set eligibility at a percentage, 50 percent of federal poverty.

“Which currently still only allows for a gross income of $920 a month, which is considered deep poverty,” Stoops says.

Stoops says that will likely expand the program by 8,000 people and cost nearly $2 million a year.

The bill will have to go through the Senate Appropriations Committee before the end of the month.

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