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|Heel Type:||Block||Style:||Knee High Boots|
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|Pattern:||Solid||Heel Height:||Med (1 3/4 in. to 2 3/4 in.)|
|Width:||Medium (B, M)|
Many discussions about safety-net programs tend to focus on financial cliffs—how the impact of getting a raise or working additional hours may make participants ineligible for the very benefits they need to move into economic stability. Marriage is rarely part of this discussion, even though numerous studies show marriage is an important tool for moving families out of poverty.1 That marriage is often absent from these discussions is especially ironic, since the promotion of family stability—by encouraging marriage and discouraging nonmarital births—was among the chief policy rationales for welfare reform in 1996.
After reviewing research stressing the importance of eliminating marriage penalties, we developed and successfully advocated for legislation that would create a “honeymoon” period for newly-married couples receiving assistance through Minnesota’s version of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The legislation (HF 1453/SF 1165) received strong bipartisan support and was enacted by a Republican Legislature and Democratic Governor Mark Dayton in 2017. In our view, it represents the bi-partisan possibilities of enacting legislation based on the consensus that marriage is a vital tool for reducing poverty and fostering child well-being.
Crafting a Policy
Minnesota’s version of TANF is the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), which provides work support and cash assistance for children and their parents, who are often low wage workers between jobs. There has been no increase in the amount of the cash benefit to participants in over 30 years. Both of our organizations were involved in advocating for an increase.
As we talked with people of faith across our state, especially religious leaders, we kept hearing about couples who wanted to be married but couldn’t afford to make this decision because adding another adult to the family’s income would put them over the poverty threshold used to determine eligibility.2 The concerns were often strongest for couples expecting a baby who wished to be married before birth of their child. Unfortunately, marriage would result in a loss of benefits at the exact time the new mother would be unable to work. We sought to address this marriage disincentive.
Framing the Legislation
In our experience, all elected officials want to help families and individuals in poverty. They desire all our citizens to be economically stable and prosperous, but they often have different ideas about how to make that happen. Our goal was to frame our bill in a way that showed a commitment to helping children live in stable, secure homes that lawmakers from both parties could champion.
To that end, we drafted a bill to create an 18-month window after marriage in which a new spouse’s income would not count when determining eligibility—a “honeymoon” period. This income disregard was modeled on an existing statute that addressed child support for children on MFIP. Due to constitutional concerns related to marriage incentive programs, we consciously chose to structure the bill in a way that would allow couples to choose to marry rather than reward those who married.
Making the Pitch
In seeking bill sponsors (and later other supporters), we spoke about the benefits of marriage to children and the challenges to couples that wanted to marry but knew the very real financial impact this would have on their families. We shared that the federal TANF Program, which is used to fund MFIP, specifically lists two marriage-related goals: to promote marriage and to reduce the number of children born out of wedlock.
We provided data from a joint American Enterprise Institute/Los Angeles Times study3 in which people in poverty were asked: “How often do you think unmarried adults chose not to get married to avoid losing welfare benefits?” Twenty-four percent of participants answered, “almost always,” and an additional 23% answered, “often.”
We also gave legislators highlighted copies of a 2009 study of the federal TANF program that showed participation in the TANF program had a negative effect on the probability of marriage, an effect that disappeared once participants moved off the program.4
In building strong bipartisan support for the legislation, we addressed some concerns along the way. For example, we made it clear that we were not judging single parents but instead creating a viable option for couples who wanted to be married. We also clarified that nothing in the bill would trap a parent in a relationship that was dangerous for the parent or children.
Our House author identified a concern we hadn’t anticipated—should the state allow continued participation in the MFIP program if a participant marries a middle or upper-class individual? We addressed this by amending the bill to include a cap on the income disregard, set at 275% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, the standard used to determine whether pregnant women and children are eligible for Medicaid.
In both chambers, the bill passed unanimously and was included in an omnibus bill signed by our Governor. Ultimately, the bill had to be amended to provide an income disregard for 12 months instead of the original 18. This change was unfortunate given that, ideally, this honeymoon period would last two or three years. Despite this amendment, the new law will likely make a significant impact by removing an obstacle to marriage for low-income households in our state.Roper Women's Native 7622 Work Boot, Brown, 7 D US,Kamik WOMEN'S WATERPROOF JENNIFER RAIN BOOTS Black 8 B(M) US,NEW Frye Boots Ava tall heel patch leather in Cognac sz 6.5 $400,Lucky Brand Women's Wesson Ankle Boot - Choose SZ/color,Minnetonka Women's Back Zipper Boot Softsole Brown Suede Ankle BootsAlfani Womens Biliee Leather Round Toe Knee High Fashion Boots,54% OFF NEW TEVA Foxy Mid Boot Bison Brown Nubuck sz 7.5, 8, 9 Ret. $150Lot Faux Leather Quilted Knee High Thigh Heels Sexy Fringe Suede Platform Boots1886 by Wolverine Women's Alice Slip-On Shoe,Black,5 M USWomens Low Heel Ankle Pointed Toe Block Side Zip Slip On Slouch Boots Suede,Hot Womens Side Zip Ankle Boots Black Rivet Buckle Cuban Heels Pointed Toe Shoes,Lucky Brand HIDEE 2 Women's Studded Ankle Boots Dark Brown Leather Size 6.5Womens Sexy Over The Knee Thigh High Boots Patent Leather Clubwear Shoes Pumps$368 Frye Jane Tall Leather Boots Redwood Brown 77230 Sz 10B Nice Distressed,Sexy Womens Punk Rivet Pointy Toe High Heel Stiletto Side Zip Ankle Boots Shoes,Pleaser DREAM-438 Ankle/Mid-Calf Boots Silver Metallic Gladiator Stiletto HeelsChic Womens Glitter Sequins Clear Block High Heels Party Ankle Boots Shoes T365Men's/Women's Nicole Women's Quinn Bootie Not so expensive Clearance Exquisite workmanship,New fashion Womens Warm fur Hidden Wedge Platform Round Toe Pull On Suede boots,Lucky Women's Keno, Toffee, 7.5 M US,MIA Women's Neal Ankle Bootie, Taupe, 7 M USCrown Vintage Womens Tabby Leather Pointed Toe Ankle Fashion, Grey, Size 7.5 Lwd,Womens High Heel Stiletto Over Thigh Knee High Boot Pleated Leather Buckle Shoes,Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn Monroe Women’s Sz 8 Tan Leather Shearling Boots W2-122,Sexy Womens Platform High Heels Ankle Boots Fur Trim Casual Nightclub Punk ShoesPointy Toe Women Sexy Over The Knee Boot Snakeskin High Heel Stiletto 2018 Vogue,Women Cowboy Pointy Toe Knee High Boots Block Heel Splice S7 Shoes Denim LeatherMUK LUKS Women's Patti Cable Cuff Boot 9 BM US, Ivory/White,Women Stiletto Silk Pointy toe Pull On Chinese Pumps Shoes Mid-Calf Boots New,Women's Big Fur Winter Ankle Boots Flats Metal Point Toe Woolen Oxfords Shoes,
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