Rep. Spohnholz: ‘HB 151 is a small, temporary step to help struggling parents put food on the table’
JUNEAU — The House of Representatives passed a bill Monday that would help Alaskan families get back on their feet as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic.
One of the main features of House Bill 151 is a temporary increase in payments provided for each child and dependent of Alaskans who are out of work.
The current rate of $24 a week per dependent was last updated four decades ago. If enacted, HB 151 will temporarily increase the weekly payment to $75 per dependent, the one-week waiting period before people become eligible for benefits will end, and benefits will not be limited to a maximum of three dependents.
“This bill is about making sure Alaskan kids don’t go hungry,” said Rep. Zack Fields (D-Anchorage), co-chair of the Labor and Commerce Committee, which sponsored HB 151.
“The amount of support provided for the children and dependents of Alaskans who fall out of work has not been updated established in 1981. That means there have been no increases – not even to account for inflation – in four decades,” added Rep. Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage), Labor and Commerce Committee co-chair. “HB 151 is a small, temporary step to help struggling parents put food on the table.”
“Alaskans who fall out of the workforce receive the lowest unemployment benefits of anyone in the United States,” Rep. Adam Wool (D-Fairbanks) said. “This approach hits working people and single parents especially hard. Alaska has lost a lot of low-wage jobs, with tourism businesses, restaurants, and countless other job providers closing their doors due to the pandemic.”