Last week, the Massachusetts Senate reaffirmed its commitment to ending the state’s family cap policy by overwhelmingly voting to pass Senator Sal DiDomenico’s legislation to lift the Cap on Kids.
The Cap on Kids – also called the “family cap” — denies benefits to children conceived while, or soon after, a family began receiving benefits. As a result of the Cap on Kids, Massachusetts does not provide benefits for nearly 9,000 children living in poverty. Their parents struggle to provide even the most basic essentials for their children, causing everyone in the family to suffer.
“I am proud that the Senate has once again taken action to put an end to our Commonwealth’s ineffective and unjust family cap policy,” said Assistant Majority Leader Sal DiDomenico. “Lifting the ‘Cap on Kids’ is simply the right thing to do to ensure that families are not denied basic benefits simply because of when their children were born. This is a critical policy change that will help thousands of children across the Commonwealth, and I would like to especially thank Senate President Spilka for continuing to make this a Senate priority and addressing this issue at the very beginning of our session.”
Massachusetts’ ‘Cap on Kids’ policy was established in 1995 and has been detrimental to families across the state. In his statement on the Senate floor, Senator DiDomenico passionately disputed certain erroneous assumptions: “To be clear, there was and continues to be no evidence that people have children to receive additional benefits, which is why so many states have already taken action to repeal their family cap policies. For over two decades, the Cap on Kids has done nothing but harm children and make it harder for low income families to meet their basic needs, such as food, housing, and warm clothes.”
The new policy passed by the Legislature would start September 1, 2019, and makes the repeal of the family cap retroactive to January 1, 2019. Upon implementation, children who are, or would be, excluded from grant calculations will now be included. The fiscal year 2019 budget already provides funding for this change, which was included in the House and Senate conference committee report.
This legislation now moves to the Governor’s desk for his approval.