CLASP Work Supports Newsletter (March 2013)

March 29, 2013

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Work Supports Update
March 2013
In this Issue:

CLASP Upcoming Webinar

CLASP Reports & Publications

CLASP In Focus Blog Postings

If you have news you want to share with your colleagues around the country in this Update, let us know.

Innovative City and State Funding Approaches to Supporting Subsidized Employment and Transitional Jobs

MAR 2013

This publication will be highlighted by a newly launched joint webinar series. The first webinar, “Where's the Money? Innovative City and State Funding Approaches to Supporting Transitional Jobs & Subsidized Employment Programs,” will be held Friday, April 5 at 12:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m. CT 9:00 a.m. PT). Please register for the webinar here. Dial-in information will be sent to you following your registration.

This joint paper by the National Transitional Jobs Network at Heartland Alliance and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) provides suggestions and examples of innovative funding strategies for subsidized job programs to cities, states, and other public-sector entities that are considering or have decided to implement or expand subsidized employment programming. In particular, the paper may be helpful to sites that operated subsidized employment programs under the TANF Emergency Fund, and are interested in building on that experience, but can no longer access TANF funds at the previous scale.

A number of cities and states have successfully leveraged and combined multiple sources of funding. The paper analyzes these strategies and makes recommendations based on prior successes.  Beyond accessing dedicated federal or foundation grants, three major approaches to paying for some or all of the costs of a subsidized employment program are examined, including:

  1. Accessing flexible block grant funds;
  2. Using state or local funds based on averting future corrections-related expenses; and
  3. Tapping into public contracting and bidding opportunities in order to generate program revenue.

Read the complete Strategies for Funding Subsidized Employment Programs >> 

A Guide for HPOG Programs

MAR 2013

In today's economy, workforce education and training are essential to opening the door to good jobs.  Our workforce programs are deeply underfunded, and are therefore able to serve only a small fraction of individuals and families in need of or eligible for services.  In order to maximize their reach, and provide workers with the full range of services they need to succeed, programs must often blend funding from multiple federal programs.  However, this may be challenging, as different programs have different target populations, requirements, and performance measurement systems.

In order to help education and training providers provide the most effective and accessible services, CLASP has issued a new report: Navigating Federal Programs to Build Sustainable Career Pathways in the Health Professions.  This report was funded by the Department of Health and Human Services specifically to assist organizations operating health care career pathways programs under a Health Professions Opportunity Grant (HPOG), but will benefit any group operating programs whose students participate in TANF, workforce, or adult education programs.

This report explains the requirements and performance accountability systems of TANF and the workforce and adult education programs supported under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Titles I and II.  The report also discusses specific strategies that states can use to overcome potential barriers caused by the disparate requirements of these programs.  

Read the complete Guide for HPOG Programs >> 

TANF and SSI: The Rest of the Story

MAR 29, 2013

By Elizabeth Lower-Basch

In last week's This American Life episode, which focuses on income support programs for people with disabilities, one segment reports on contractors who are paid by states or counties to assist individuals receiving TANF benefits in applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), an income support program for low-income individuals who are unable to work due to disability.   While not directly stated, many listeners may have been left with the impression that states are helping people who are not really disabled qualify for SSI, or that such efforts have been a significant driver of the growth in the numbers of individuals receiving SSI benefits.  Neither of these is true.

Read More >> 

What Do You Do if You’re Poor … And Disabled?

MAR 29, 2013

By Helly Lee

Our country's safety net is designed to help people with varying degrees of need.  Unfortunately, some people find themselves dealing with multiple issues that exacerbate each other.  For instance, those who are disabled may also have to contend with living in poverty - indeed they might have become poor because their disability prevented them from working.

Read More >> 

Budget Amendment Foreshadows Immigration Debate Ahead

MAR 29, 2013

By Helly Lee

Denying access to critical resources such as health care and nutrition can create serious problems for children and families, and costs us all in the long run. However, some in Congress will seek to do just that during discussions on immigration reform in the coming months. We've seen efforts to limit immigrant access to resources in past immigration debates, and we saw it again recently in our budget debate.

Read More >> 

SNAP Benefits in the Crosshairs of Debate on Spending

MAR 20, 2013

By Helly Lee and Lavanya Mohan

The budget resolutions introduced last week by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray are miles apart on funding for anti-poverty programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid.

The Ryan budget proposes drastic changes.  It would slash SNAP by $135 billion and Medicaid by $810 billion over 10 years through new block grants-cutting off tens of millions of people from critical health and nutrition assistance. With so many still struggling to make ends meet after a brutal recession, this is the wrong idea at the wrong time.  As our colleague, Elizabeth Lower-Basch has explained, claims that block granting has been successful for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program are deeply flawed and misguided, and SNAP and Medicaid are even less suited for such an approach. While the Ryan budget claims to protect the safety net, his approach would actually shred it, making it less responsive to the needs of low-income people.

Read More >> 

SNAP, Medicaid Block Grants Would Weaken the Already-Fragile Safety Net

MAR 13, 2013

By Elizabeth Lower-Basch

Once again, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has put forward a budget proposal that calls for block granting of both Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). Rep. Ryan justifies this proposal by citing the supposed "success" of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant as a model.

As we have explained before, TANF has too often not been a success as either a safety net or a springboard to opportunity. The poverty reduction that Rep. Ryan cites was limited to the boom years of the 1990s; child poverty rates had begun to climb even before the recent deep recession. The funding for the block grant has been eroded over time, and state flexibility has led to a patchwork - and often flimsy - safety net. While the number of families receiving cash assistance from TANF rose somewhat during the recession, it did not climb nearly as much as the number of families who might have benefited from such help.

Read More >> 

Too Many Low-Wage Workers are Ineligible for UI Benefits

MAR 11, 2013

By Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Lavanya Mohan

Last month, North Carolina enacted a law that cuts benefits for jobless workers by reducing the maximum number of weeks for benefits and capping the maximum weekly unemployment insurance (UI) benefit. As it is, North Carolina has the second highest earnings qualification in the nation, requiring claimants to have earned at least $4,706 of base wages over two quarters in a year to receive UI benefits. As a result of these cuts, 170,000 unemployed workers will lose federal and state unemployment benefits.


Millions Eligible for Health Coverage through Medicaid Expansion

MAR 07, 2013

By Lavanya Mohan and Abigail Newcomer

On February 20, Florida Governor Rick Scott (R), a vocal critic of healthcare reform, announced his state will expand Medicaid coverage, a provision of "Obamacare" affirmed last summer by the U.S. Supreme Court. Days later, Governor Chris Christie(R) of New Jersey became the most recent Governor to announce his state's participation, which will expand coverage to 300,000 uninsured New Jersey residents. Gubernatorial support of the expansion does not guarantee the Medicaid expansion will happen in a state; state legislatures have a say as well. Nonetheless, as of today, 24 states' executives have announced plans to expand Medicaid. Though at times the issue has been politically charged, Republicans and Democrats are recognizing that the expansion is a good deal for states and an excellent opportunity to improve health coverage for their residents.


Reports & Publications from Colleague Organizations
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