DHS: Restricted Access to Electronic Welfare Benefits

From: Kayla Rosenfeld, DHS Public Information Officer
Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2014 10:10 AM
Subject: DHS Press Release – Restricted Access to TANF Benefits

Effective February 2014, Temporary Assistance for Need Family (TANF) recipients are restricted from withdrawing their cash benefits at certain types of businesses.

Restricted points of access include automated teller machines (ATM) or point of sale (POS) terminals at liquor stores, casinos, and gaming establishments. Retail establishments that provide adult-oriented entertainment (performers disrobe or perform in an unclothed state for entertainment) also are restricted locations.

The policy is an outcome of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-96). The law was enacted in 2012, but States were given time to determine how to best impose the restriction. Hawaii came into compliance this year.

The TANF program provides monthly cash benefits to families for food, clothing, shelter, and other essentials. The federally funded program is designed to help families achieve financial self -sufficiency. Grocery stores and retailers that primarily sell products other than liquor, and restaurants, bars or clubs that serve liquor are exempt from the restriction. 

For the purposes of accessing TANF cash benefits, liquor stores are defined as retailers that exclusively or primarily sell liquor. Gaming establishments mean establishments with a primary purpose of accommodating the wagering of money. These restrictions have been imposed nationwide. Restricted Hawaii points of sale are listed below.

To qualify for TANF benefits, a family must include children under the age of 19 and earn a total gross income under 185% of the 2006 Federal Poverty Level (FPL). For a household of three persons, that’s a monthly gross income less than $2,941; if the household includes an employable adult net income must be under $610. In households where all adults are disabled, care is required for a disabled household member, or there is a child younger than six months of age, the net income must be under $763 per month. Effective April 18, 2013, assets were disregarded from the eligibility determination.

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