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AFDC Welfare Program

By: ELISA CROUCH
State Capital Bureau

April 14, 1995

NOTE: This is a sidebar to the main story on AFDC.

JEFFERSON CITY _ When politicians and lawmakers talk about welfare, they're usually talking about Aid to Dependent Families, or AFDC.

It is the main welfare program for both the country and Missouri.

Although established by federal law, each state can adjust AFDC requirements and benefits, which is why AFDC recipients in one state might receive more or less than they would in another.

In January, 1995, the Missouri Family Services Division reported that more than 91,000 families _ or more than 259,000 individual people _ received AFDC cash payments in Missouri.

To be eligible to receive AFDC in Missouri, a family must have:

* At least one child under the age of 18 in the home who is deprived of parental support because of the absence of one or both parents, or because of a parent's disability.

* Available resources under $1000. A car valued under $1000 and a house are the only exceptions.

* A monthly income less than $342 for a family of four, $292 for a family of three, and $234 for a family of two.

The amount of money a family receives from AFDC each month depends on its income. For example, the maximum AFDC cash payment for a family of four is $342 a month. If a family earns $300 a month, then it would receive $42 from AFDC.

Once a family's income exceeds the maximum amount it can receive from AFDC, then it is removed from cash assistance. Recipients who get off the system because of a higher income receive transitional benefits _ Medicaid and child care _ for six months. This time period can be extended to 12 months under certain circumstances.

In addition to income, a family can be cut from AFDC if:

* It accumulates resources valued over $1000.

* The absent parent comes back into the home.

* The dependent child either moves out of the home or turns 18.

Parents receiving AFDC are no longer eligible for AFDC cash and benefits once the last child no longer meets age requirements.

However, the child can receive Medicaid until age 19.