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The FY 2023 budget’s 10 percent increase in cash assistance starting in October marks another historic step forward for families in Deep Poverty. This is the third increase in three years after decades of frozen benefit levels. These successive increases demonstrate our legislative leaders’ moral commitment to our most vulnerable children, older adults, and people with disabilities.

With this increase, the cash assistance grant for a family of three with no income will be $783 a month. This is closer to, but still well below half of the federal poverty level – known as the Deep Poverty level – of $960 a month.

The pandemic and the current skyrocketing inflation have underscored the distressing inadequacy of our safety net. Families who struggled before to meet their basic needs now face even greater expenses for food, rent, household and cleaning supplies, internet access, and utilities.

The Lift our Kids Coalition – 155 member organizations – salutes the Speaker, the Senate President and the Ways and Means Chairs for making this important further progress towards addressing the state’s woefully low welfare grants. We are grateful to Senator Sal DiDomenico and Representative Marjorie Decker for spearheading the effort to end Deep Poverty in Massachusetts. Thanks to our legislative leaders, life will be a little bit easier for our lowest income families and we can look forward to a future when no child is consigned to live in Deep Poverty.

Deborah Harris, Mass. Law Reform Institute, and Naomi Meyer, Greater Boston Legal Services, on behalf of the Lift Our Kids Coalition. EMPath is a member of the coalition