UP Catholic 02 23 2018 E Edition Page 4

4 February 23, 2018 THE U.P. CATHOLIC COMMENTARY www.upcatholic.org e-claim Your Health! R If you are a Physician, health & fitness professional or an organization that specializes in one or more of these areas... Join us! For rate information contact: Deacon Steve 1-866-452-5112 Email: upc@new.rr.com AD SPACE DEADLINE: MARCH 20TH. In our April 20th Health & Fitness Issue! Encouraging marriage in the fight against poverty E ach year, the federal government pro- vides a block grant to the states called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). This grant allows states each to design and to implement their own programs for those struggling in poverty, as long as the programs seek one of the follow- ing goals: Provide assistance to needy families so children can be cared for in their own homes; Reduce the dependency of needy parents by promoting job preparation, work and marriage; Prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies; and/or Encourage the formation and maintenance of two-par- ent families. Here in Michigan, the cash assistance qsphsbn!uibu!pxt!gspn!gfefsbm!UBOG!gvoe- ing (https://goo.gl/7kZF94) is the Family Independence Program (FIP). FIP's goal is maintaining and strengthening family life for children and their parents or caretakers, providing up to 48 months of temporary as- sistance for expenses such as rent, utilities, or food. The program also helps families attain tfmg.tvgdjfodz/!Gspn!Pdupcfs!3127!up!Tfq- ufncfs!3128-!uif!tubuft!Efqbsunfou!pg!Ifbmui! boe!Ivnbo!Tfswjdft!sfqpsufe!bo!bwfsbhf!pg! 59-231!joejwjevbmt!sfdfjwfe!GJQ!cfofut!fbdi! npoui!)iuuqt;00hpp/hm0nM2T9k*/ As the FIP seeks to strengthen family life and fodpvsbhf!tfmg.tvgdjfodz-!ju!jt!jnqpsubou!up! recognize a critical tool for moving families out of poverty articulated in the TANF goals: mar- riage. Marriage provides stability to the couple and its children, and research has shown that marriage can improve emotional and physical ifbmui!bt!xfmm!bt!obodjbm!pvudpnft!gps!ivt- bands, wives, and their children (https://goo. hm0xI:e:g!boe!iuuqt;00hpp/hm0X5ZE:D*/! Unfortunately, eligibility requirements for Michigan's FIP-and programs in other states-can disincentivize marriage. When b!qfstpo!sfdfjwjoh!cfofut!nbssjft-!uifjs! spouse's income is factored into the eligibility calculation. If their total income is above the sfrvjsfe!mfwfm-!cfofut!dbo!cf!jnnfejbufmz! eliminated or reduced. This change may be ejgdvmu!obodjbmmz!gps!dpvqmft!tubsujoh!nbs- ried life, especially for lower-income couples, and it may lead to individuals delaying or foregoing marriage. B!3127!tvswfz!)iuuqt;00hpp/hm0LUuWeu*!cz! the American Enterprise Institute and the Los Bohfmft!Ujnft!btlfe!2-313!bevmut-!jodmvejoh! 346!jo!qpwfsuz-!ipx!pgufo!uifz!uipvhiu!vonbs- ried adults chose not to marry to avoid losing xfmgbsf!cfofut/!Gpsuz.tfwfo!qfsdfou!pg!uiptf! jo!qpwfsuzboe!65!qfsdfou!pg!uif!sftqpoefout! overall-answered that it happens frequent- ly, responding either with "almost always" or pgufo/!Tjnjmbsmz-!bmnptu!pof.uijse!pg!Bnfs- jdbo!29!up!71!zfbs.pmet!tubufe!uifz!qfstpobmmz! knew someone who has not married for fear pg!mptjoh!uifjs!cfofut-!bddpsejoh!up!bo!Bnfs- ican Enterprise Institute and the Institute gps!Gbnjmz!Tuvejft!3127!sfqpsu!)iuuqt;00hpp/ hm075F2lz*/ Jo!Kvof!3128-!Njooftpub!fobdufe!b!ofx! law to prevent couples from having to choose between marriage and retaining needed bttjtubodf/!Uif!nfbtvsf!bmmpxt!uif!Tubuf!up! "disregard" a new spouse's income for FIP eligibility, up to a certain income level, for pof!zfbs/!Njdijhbo!Dbuipmjd!Dpogfsfodf!ibt! strongly advocated for the adoption of a simi- mbs!qpmjdz!jo!uijt!tubuf-!boe!jo!Kbovbsz-!Tfobups! Xbzof!Tdinjeu!)S.Usbwfstf!Djuz*!jouspevdfe! Tfobuf!Cjmm!863/!Tjnjmbs!up!uif!Njooftpub!mbx-! the measure excludes a new spouse's income when determining eligibility for FIP assistance and would provide a grace period of eighteen months. The only time a spouse's income would not be disregarded is if the household jodpnf!fydffefe!386!qfsdfou!pg!uif!gfefsbm! poverty level, the existing Medicaid eligibility standard. This legislation is an opportunity both to promote marriage and to help struggling fam- ilies. If a disincentive to marriage is removed among FIP recipients, more individuals may see marriage as a viable option, not a barrier, to changing their economic status. Additional- ly, by encouraging parents to raise children in a married household, there is an opportunity to demonstrate the value and security of mar- riage for children and potentially break the cycle of poverty. These goals, and others that strengthen families and marriages, are worth striving for in our state. The Word from Lansing is a regular column for Catholic news outlets and is written by Michigan Catholic Conference president and CEO Paul A. Long. Michigan Catholic Con- gfsfodf!jt!uif!pgdjbm!qvcmjd!qpmjdz!wpjdf!pg!uif! Catholic Church in this state. j THE WORD FROM LANSING Paul A. Long Do you have a parish event coming up? Tfoe!zpvs!qbsjti!fwfout!pof!npoui!jo!bewbodf!gps!qpttjcmf!qvcmjdbujpo!up! ofxtAejpdftfpgnbsrvfuuf/psh-!ps!cz!nbjm!up!Fwfout.!Uif!V/Q/!Dbuipmjd-! 2115!Ibscps!Ijmmt!Es/-!Nbsrvfuuf-!NJ!5:966/

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