Lawmakers vote to expand welfare services for low-income women

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – In a 37 to 1 vote, state senators rejected the limit on the number of children a woman can have while collecting welfare benefits. Westfield state senator Don Humason was the lone vote against the policy. 

Now, a single mother with two children, one of whom was born while the family was on welfare, will see her monthly payment increase from $491 to $593, according to the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. 

The bill’s sponsors said the state’s lowest-income families will finally be treated fairly. 

“They were negatively impacted and unjustly impacted with this really archaic law that we put on the books decades ago. This is a way to give back to our communities but also help our lowest income families and not have them punished for their place in the birth line,” Senator Didomenico said.

The cap was initially intended to discourage people from having more children while on public assistance, but many lawmakers agreed that women weren’t choosing to have children in order to receive more welfare benefits.

Now that both houses have agreed to override the governor’s veto, the bill automatically becomes law. 

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