BOSTON (SHNS) – Seeking to further boost the increase to public benefits secured in the new state budget, activists doubled down on their push Tuesday to “lift kids out of deep poverty” by raising cash grants families use to pay for rent, food, diapers, clothing and transportation.

Ahead of a committee hearing on the topic, the Lift Our Kids Coalition — composed of 160 organizations — rallied outside the State House in support of bills from Rep. Marjorie Decker and Sen. Sal DiDomenico (H 144 / S 75) that would establish the minimum cash assistance amount at 50 percent of the federal poverty level. The legislation also factors in cost-of-living increases, coalition member Naomi Meyer said.

“The grants have not been adjusted for inflation — it’s not built into the law — and so they have just lost value, more than half their value in the last 30 years,” Meyer, an attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, told the News Service. “With families receiving cash assistance, we hear that even a little bit more money can make a real difference in their ability to just provide basic necessities for their children.”

While cash grants are rising 10 percent next April through the state budget, the coalition says the bump is not enough to support vulnerable families and individuals who rely on the Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children programs. For now, a family of three receives $783 in monthly cash assistance grants, which the coalition says is below the deep poverty level — defined as a household income that is under 50 percent of the federal poverty level — of $1,036 per month.

Coalition member Deborah Harris, senior benefits staff attorney at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, said lawmakers must recognize that the increases to the grants in recent years are “too small to reach deep poverty in any reasonable timeframe.”