State welfare numbers lowest since 1963

December 22, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

State officials announced yesterday that the number of Marylanders receiving welfare benefits continues to decline, down to 66,725 people last month.

The number is the lowest since December 1963 and marks a steady decline since passage of the 1996 federal welfare reform law, according to the Maryland Department of Human Resources. In January 1995, more than 227,000 people in Maryland were receiving benefits.

"The fact that we continue to reach record lows in the number of people receiving benefits demonstrates two things," said Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. in a statement. "Maryland's economy is strong, and people want to work."

The 1996 law included a five-year lifetime limit on receiving benefits.

State officials said they have stepped up their efforts to provide job training skills and seek employment opportunities for people receiving benefits, known as Temporary Cash Assistance.

"We were convinced that we could move more individuals toward jobs and careers, and that has happened," said Human Resources Secretary Christopher J. McCabe in a statement.

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