The Center on Policy and Social Policy at Columbia University released a new policy brief on May 16th, 2023, titled “The Costs of Cutting Cash Assistance to Children and Families: Changing TANF work requirements could cost society up to $30 billion per year.” This brief, a response to the House-passed debt ceiling bill, is timely and highlights that proposed changes to TANF work requirements in the Limit, Save, Grow Act (H.R. 2811 in the 118th Congress) that could restrict cash assistance for families with children could come at significant economic and societal cost.

The new brief notes that the Center’s cost-benefit work has shown “flexible cash for families… has the potential to deliver an extraordinary return on investment with economic and societal benefits at an annual rate many times greater than the annual cost. Taking cash support away from families produces the opposite effect: it has the potential to increase poverty and decrease well-being while children are young, while also resulting in substantial economic and societal costs over the longer term.”