State spending 35 percent less on assistance for needy families

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois is spending $15 million less on the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, a drop of nearly 35 percent.

TANF spending fell $28 million a month, down from $43 million a month at this point last year.

Simply put. More people are finding jobs.

Marianne Manko, communications director at the Department of Human Services, said Illinois has spent the past year pushing people to find a job.

“We’re seeing such good numbers of people who are canceling their TANF eligibility because of earnings,” Manko said.

Manko said the state launched an effort in Cook County last spring to either get people job skills or press the importance of work.

“We’ve been initiating conversations with all TANF customers on the benefits of employment,” Manko said.

The latest enrollment report in April showed 34,000 people in Illinois received TANF benefits, down from 49,000 in December of 2014.