Social Services

State Medicaid costs poised to surge from pandemic lows

State costs rose by 13% in fiscal 2023 and are expected to increase by an additional 17.2% in fiscal 2024 thanks to the phaseout of enhanced federal aid, provider rate increases and slowing but still elevated enrollment levels.

San Francisco tries tough love by tying welfare to drug rehab

Starting in January 2025, public assistance recipients who screen positive for addiction on a 10-question drug abuse test will be referred to treatment. Those who refuse or fail to show up for treatment will lose their benefits.

First state-regulated overdose prevention center preps for opening

Rhode Island is using part of its opioid settlement money to expand harm reduction strategies and demonstrate how the center can impact drug use, crime and recovery.

State looks to expand food assistance program to restaurants

Nevada's Restaurant Meals Program would allow people 60 or older, those who are disabled and people experiencing homelessness enrolled in SNAP to buy meals at participating restaurants.  

In Georgia, inadequate housing can mean significantly longer stays in foster care

Even after resolving other safety concerns, parents can wait for months to be reunited with their children, often because of what advocates say are stringent requirements sought by the state’s Division of Family and Children Services.

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Some low-wage earners must choose between pay raises and government assistance

Lawmakers in North Carolina heard from experts about the “benefits cliff” and how other jurisdictions are developing strategies to lessen its impact on low-income families.

States turn to Medicaid to tackle housing insecurity

Section 1115 Medicaid waivers can help states reduce health inequities by covering housing costs and providing meal support for vulnerable populations.

Biden proposes 'historic new program' to address child care shortages

In his budget, the president is asking Congress for more money for child care and the restoration of several pandemic-era programs, including the full child care tax expansion.

House passes spending bills in bipartisan vote

The package of bills provides additional funding for WIC and rental assistance, but drastically cuts funds funds for the largest state and local housing grant program and transit.

White House beefs up child care block grants

A new rule caps the total amount low-income families have to pay for child care at 7% of their income and directs states to pay child care providers more fairly and on time.

As millions wait on food stamp approvals, feds tell states to speed it up

To adequately staff safety net programs, some states are boosting workforce funding, and others are investing in new computer systems to speed up claims processing. But food security advocates say recent backlogs are a symptom of long-term disinvestment.

Halfway through ‘unwinding,’ Medicaid enrollment is down about 10 million

While many beneficiaries no longer qualify because their incomes rose, millions of people have been dropped from the rolls for procedural reasons like failing to respond to notices or return paperwork.

Mayors, feds bemoan immigration ‘paralysis’

City leaders overwhelmed by the influx of migrants joined federal officials in strongly urging Congress to address the crisis at the southern border.

Congress averts shutdown for third time in four months

A short-term spending deal was passed on a bipartisan vote in both the House and Senate. But, as some hoped, it does not provide additional funding for two critical programs helping low-income Americans.

A short-term spending deal has been reached that would keep the government open until March

The deal, though, doesn’t include funding for two critical programs for low-income people.

Which states will join the new summer meal program for low-income kids? Here’s the list.

Thirty-five states are participating in the 2024 launch of a program that will provide low-income families $40 per child for groceries during the summer months when schools are not in session.

WIC program on pace to fall $1B short, says agriculture secretary

Unless Congress budgets more, the program will run out of money in mid-August, forcing states to waitlist those seeking help.

Most people dropped in Medicaid ‘unwinding’ never tried to renew coverage, Utah finds

Medicaid officials in Utah conducted a survey to answer a burning question in health policy: What happened to people dropped from the program in the post-pandemic "unwinding"?

States and localities in 2023: A look at the top stories of the year

The first half of the year was marked by the end of pandemic-era benefits. The second half was dominated by the shutdown. All the while, leaders were preoccupied with infrastructure, technology and flags.

Feds consider limiting how states can use welfare funds

The Biden administration says that the 1996 welfare reforms gave states too much spending flexibility. Now, it wants to claw back back some of those freedoms.