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The need for welfare aid is growing. Why aren’t states spending the money they have to help?

Former president Clinton  campaigned on the promise to "end welfare as we know it." But the need for welfare has only grown and states have billions of unspent dollars allocated for welfare aid.
Former president Clinton campaigned on the promise to "end welfare as we know it." But the need for welfare has only grown and states have billions of unspent dollars allocated for welfare aid.

The last big overhaul of welfare aid passed 25 years ago, but a lot has changed since then. Between a global pandemic, record-high unemployment numbers, and rising inflation, the need for welfare aid has grown.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 3 million more people lived in poverty in 2020 than in 2019. But states have not been spending funds allocated to fill the needs of low-income citizens. Those funds are part of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (or TANF).Recent federal data found that states have over $5 billion in TANF funds.

ProPublica’s Eli Hager reported on the stipulations of accessing welfare aid in the Southwest from Nevada to Utah for the 25th anniversary of TANF.

We hear from him and explore how difficult it is for people in need to navigate this system.

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