April Legislative Update

This winter, IABG drafted legislation to remove the asset test in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. As we move into the spring, the issue is gaining momentum.

SB2319 / HB2262 will remove the TANF Asset Test. The asset test prevents our most vulnerable families from having more than $3000 in savings and other assets. The asset test is an outdated policy that has become harmful for families and unnecessarily costly for the Illinois Department of Human Services. By removing the TANF Asset Test we:

  1. Promote savings and encourage our poorest families to develop savings behaviors that lead to self-sufficient.
  2. Allow families to preserve the few resources they do have, like emergency or college savings, and avert financial disaster.
  3. Increase government efficiency with substantial savings for taxpayers.

In 2012, only 8 out of more than 51,000 families had their TAMF cases cancelled because their assets exceeded $3000. That’s less than 1 in every 6000 cases. However, IDHS caseworkers must spend substantial administrative resources regularly checking the assets of each TANF family. This requires extensive verifications that have proven to be unnecessary.

Because of the impact on both families and the state, there is a growing trend across the country to remove asset limits from public benefits programs. States that have removed the TANF asset test have found a significant administrative cost savings with little to no increase in the TANF case load.

SB2319 & HB2262 have both moved out of their respective committees. As we head back to Springfield after the legislative spring break, IABG and our partners will be working to ensure that it passes out of both houses. We need your help. Contact your legislators and ask them to support SB2319 & HB2262.

Retirement Savings Update

In addition to advocacy to remove the TANF Asset Test, IABG is also advocating for the creation of an Automatic IRA program. The Automatic IRA Program is a simple, cost-effective, way to increase retirement security for Illinois workers. SB2400 would create a statewide infrastructure that gives workers access to a savings tool that will help them build financially secure retirements. We expect the issue to be up in the Committee in April. In the meantime, we are continuing to educate legislators about growing retirement insecurity and ways to address the problem.

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