HARRISBURG – House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana), along with Reps. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) and Tom Murt (R-Montgomery/Philadelphia), released a statement following the introduction of House Bill 1164, which would reform the Commonwealth’s child care benefits structure in order to help families retain temporary assistance, while allowing them to earn their way out of poverty.
Under current law, families who earn more money eventually reach a so-called “benefits cliff” at which even a slight increase in their income makes them completely ineligible for services worth substantially more than the potential income increase, thereby discouraging them from accepting raises or working additional hours.
The proposed legislation would address this issue by increasing copayments as parents earn additional income. In addition, when parents reach the current benefits cliff, they would not be cut off from services. As they earn more money, their responsibility for the cost of services would increase until their income can support it entirely.
In the statement, the lawmakers said:
“Guidelines for child care assistance, while well intended, often keep individuals entrapped in poverty. People actually lose needed assistance when they accept a promotion or when additional work hours increase their wages.
“This important reform is essential to help people fulfill their own American Dream and not become more dependent upon additional government assistance programs. It represents the beginning of a process to remove government barriers that keep people from working additional hours and accepting hard-earned promotions.”
The bill will soon be referred to committee for further discussion, review and ultimate vote prior to heading to the House Floor.