Governor Jan Brewer is ordering the Arizona Department of Economic Security to redirect more than half a million dollars from its budget to about 3,200 families who saw their welfare benefits dry up because of the shutdown.
The DES will redirect $650,000 from its budget to support the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program through Oct. 31.
DES officials said around 80 percent, or approximately 13,300 families in this program, were already paid their monthly benefit by Oct. 2, but funding of cash assistance for the remaining 3,200 families dried up.
"Since the initial threat of a federal government shutdown, my primary concern has been how critical federal programs aimed at assisting Arizona's most vulnerable families would be impacted, and whether the state could afford the costs to cover until the deadlock in DC ended," Brewer stated in a news release. "I have instructed DES to redirect funds to cover the remaining TANF beneficiaries who did not already receive a monthly benefit through the end of October, so that more than 3,000 needy and low-income Arizona families continue to receive their much-needed cash assistance."
About 16,500 Arizona families, including 27,545 children, receive cash assistance through TANF, according to the release. Its funding source expired September 30 and Brewer said Arizona did not have funding to support it after Oct. 2.
"If the federal government remains at a stalemate come November, Arizona may be faced with catastrophic budgetary challenges and choices as we figure out how to salvage TANF and other critical programs," Brewer said. It's well past time that President Obama begins to negotiate with both parties in Congress in order to resolve the budget impasse and end the shutdown immediately."