Making Justice Real

The Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Legal Aid Testifies at Hearing on Proposed FY 2013 DHS Budget

Westra Miller, Staff Attorney

Last Thursday, I was among the many advocates, citizens, and government officials testifying at a D.C. Council Committee Hearing regarding the Mayor’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2013.  Although the Mayor has promised to “protect our most vulnerable residents” in his budget, his proposal relies heavily on cuts to programs in housing and human services.  My testimony focused on restoring $5.65 million to the Department of Human Services (DHS) budget for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  This restoration would delay an impending benefit reduction for families who have received cash assistance for more than 60 months.  Currently, longtime TANF families will face a benefit reduction of up to 40% in October 2012—despite the fact that many have not yet been offered appropriate job training and other services through DHS.  My testimony also discussed the Interim Disability Assistance (IDA) program, an important financial bridge for District residents waiting for approval of their applications for federal disability benefits.  IDA provides $290 per month cash assistance to residents with disabilities.  In recent years, the program’s budget has been reduced.  We asked that the Council restore $2.42 million to IDA to replace the federal recovery funds that were taken from the program in a previous year’s budget.

 Written testimony on these issues can be accessed here.

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