On Tuesday the Mississippi Senate passed SB 2759 which would increase the monthly benefits that individuals on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program by $90.

Author of the bill, Sen. Joey Fillingane said the legislation came straight from the Director’s office of the Department of Human Services.

Currently there are roughly 3,000 families in Mississippi that receive TANF benefits. In explaining bill, Fillingane said the request for the increase came from the newest director of the Mississippi Department of Human Service, Bob Anderson. The department had close to $16 million that rolled over from last years federal block grants, part of which will be used for the increase.

A $90 increase for TANF beneficiaries would equal close to $2.8 million in funds. These are pass through dollars from the federal government.

For example, a family of two receiving TANF are given about $146 monthly. There has not been an increase in that amount for 21 years. That money can go to anything the family needs whether it be groceries or paying bills

“I don’t know about you and your family but $146 a month for a family doesn’t go very far,” said Fillingane.

While Fillingane said that the number was still low, they were operating based off of the advice of Director Anderson. He said there is always a chance that number could increase in future years.

There was a slight but significant uptick of TANF beneficiaries due to COVID-19.

“People due to no fault of their own were put out of work,” said Fillingane.”There were a lot of people in industries that were laid off.”

Individuals who believe they may be eligible for TANF benefits can apply through their local MSDH office or go to the website for more information.