Last week, Congressman Tom Reed reintroduced the HAND UP (Helping Americans in Need Develop their Ultimate Potential) Act and the Standard DATA Act. Both pieces of legislation are designed to make social safety nets more efficient and effective.
The HAND UP Act aims to accomplish three goals to help individuals out of poverty: encouraging new ways to promote self-sufficiency, increasing work and earnings, and reducing welfare dependency.
“We, as a nation, need to do a better job caring for those who live in poverty. We need to modify our current system so that receiving a paycheck is more attractive than receiving a welfare check. It is not fair to simply provide people with money and no opportunities for them to better their situations,” Reed stated.
The legislation is designed to give states the flexibility to change how they administer social welfare programs such Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to help make sure more money gets to those who need it and reduces government overhead.
The Standard DATA Act requires consistent data requirements across key human service programs, which will help to more efficiently administer programs and ensure government programs are set up to communicate effectively with one another.
“By cutting red tape we are better able to care for individuals in need. This bill will modernize government programs and streamline processes so we can better help underserved populations,” Reed said.
Using a common language and consistent data standards will increase the integrity and effectiveness of human services programs, saving taxpayer dollars as a result.