League of Women Voters Supports Bills to Strengthen Low-Income Families

6/5/2013 BOSTON—The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts has submitted testimony to the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities in support of bills that would encourage educational opportunities and support financial stability for low-income families and individuals.

The bills, S.37 and H.93, An Act Promoting Financial Stability and Asset Development

for Low to Moderate Income Families, are sponsored by Sen. James Eldridge and Rep. Linda Forry. They encourage vocational education and other programs to help families and individuals receiving state assistance to become self-supporting and financially independent.

In her written testimony to the joint committee, Clarice B. Gordon, LWVMA legislative specialist on meeting basic human needs, pointed out that the majority of assistance recipients are young mothers with children. “It is particularly important that these women are allowed and encouraged to pursue their education. The short time that they are receiving aid is often the best time in their lives they will ever have to finish high school, take college courses or improve their vocational skills. Little is gained by having these women fulfill their work requirements in low paying jobs and be no better prepared two years later to support themselves and their children,” she wrote.

The League testimony added that aid recipients pursuing further education should not be subject to requirements that prevent them from effectively completing that education, and that aid recipients who are working should be granted reasonable allowances to permit them to continue working such as owning a reliable car or deducting expenses such as uniform costs.