JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi State House and Senate Minority Caucuses held their second hearing over the federal TANF program on Thursday, December 15.

Democratic lawmakers hope to vastly modify the welfare program in the 2023 Legislative session.

After hearing another round of testimony from TANF advocates, Democrats seem prepared to try and increase the dollar amount that needy families are receiving and repeal many of the application requirements.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Mississippi rejected nearly 93% of those who applied for TANF assistance in 2021. State Senator David Blount (D-District 29) said removing the red tape driving up the denial rate is the most pressing issue within the program.

“The program has not been administered well because of roadblocks put up by this legislature and by the department. We need to get rid of all that, and we need to make sure that the poor families that are eligible for not very much money, $260 a month. If they’re eligible for that, they need to get it,” said Blount.

In 2021, 1,383 TANF fund applications were received and only 99 were approved.