House votes to lift the cap on kids

Representative Mike Connolly joined his Cambridge and Somerville colleagues to vote in support of H.104, An Act to lift the cap on kids, legislation he co-sponsored to reverse a harmful 1990's-era welfare reform.

The Cap on Kids – sometimes called the Family Cap – denies welfare benefits to children conceived while (or soon after) their family started receiving public assistance.

Massachusetts denies benefits to 9,400 children because of the Cap on Kids. Welfare benefits go up by about $100 a month as family size increases, unless the child is excluded by the Cap on Kids. Welfare benefits are very low to begin with – just $578/month for a family of three, but only $478 if one of the children is excluded by the Cap on Kids.

The Cap on Kids causes everyone in the family to suffer – including the excluded child’s older siblings. The Cap on Kids does not reduce births to mothers on welfare as welfare families on average are the same size as families in the general population.

“Today I was proud to vote to lift the cap on kids, reversing a destructive and ineffective neoliberal welfare reform from a bygone era,” Rep. Connolly said.

Rep. Connolly would like to thank his Cambridge colleagues and lead sponsors of the Lift The Cap effort, Rep. Marjorie Decker and Sen. Sal DiDomenico, for their leadership on this issue, along with the Coalition to Lift Our Kids which includes the Mass Law Reform Institute and Greater Boston Legal Services.

The Bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.