BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (AP) – Louisiana is doubling the cash payments available to poor families through its social assistance programs next year, the first increase in more than two decades, according to the Department of Social Services of the ‘State.

Benefits will be increased to the national average for those receiving cash assistance under the Federal Temporary Family Independence Assistance Program and the Kinship Support Grant program.

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services said the new payment amounts – intended to help families with food, shelter and clothing – would begin in January.

“We know there are many more families who could benefit from the programs, not only for the much-needed cash assistance, but also for the valuable workforce development and education opportunities that these programs. We hope that this increase in the amount of benefits will attract more people, ”agency secretary Marketa Garner Walters said in a statement.

The latest data provided by the ministry shows that 1,484 households are receiving cash assistance through the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program and 1,338 households are receiving subsidies for kinship care. These are available to relatives who care for children whose parents do not live with them.

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A three-person household that currently receives $ 240 in social assistance will see that amount rise to the national average of $ 484, according to the social services agency. Persons under the age of 60 who are not disabled or who do not care for a disabled person are required to work or participate in an education or vocational training program aimed at helping them find employment.

Subsidies for parental care will increase from $ 222 per child to $ 450.

The change will be the first increase since July 2000 in a state where 19% of the population live in poverty.

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