On April 9, the Texas House of Representatives unanimously approved House Bill 1483 which creates a pilot program to help struggling Texans achieve long-term success in transitioning out of poverty.

“Working more hours or working for higher pay should never leave people worse off than they were before,” said Rep. James Frank. “Said another way, government programs should always encourage selfsufficiency, not prevent it.”

The current public benefits system discourages Texans from accepting higher-paying jobs because the increased income would disqualify them from benefits they need to meet immediate and necessary expenses.

HB 1483 will create a pilot to waive state rules and allow a slower reduction in government benefits to welfare beneficiaries. By pairing a gradual decline in benefits with intensive support and case management services, the bill seeks to enable individuals in poverty attain self-sufficiency and long-term independence from welfare.

This pilot will serve up to 500 recipients of TANF or SNAP for a period of 24 to 60 months. 

An eligible participant must:

  • Currently receive TANF or SNAP benefits;
  • Have household income that is less than a living wage based on the recipient’s family makeup and geographical area of residence;
  • Fall between the ages of 18 to 62;
  • Be willing, physically, and legally able to be employed.

The pilot would create metrics for success, including maintenance of stable housing, sufficient wage employment, achieving meaningful debt reduction, and independence from public welfare benefits.

“This bill can provide a way to realign current government programs in a way that gives meaningful help to those who want to get out of poverty once and for all. I look forward to the Senate now taking this up and moving it on its way to becoming law,” Frank added.