Iowa’s Department of Human Services won a federal high-performance bonus for its work this year. Spokesman Roger Munns says this makes five years in a row the agency’s been rewarded with cash for its work on behalf of the poor and dependent. Munns says Iowa ranked second in the nation this year in job retention and increased earnings by welfare recipients, and third in improving its performance getting health care coverage for children from low-income families.
Munns says Iowa has to compete with the rest of the nation for the money.
Every year a bonus fund of 200-Million dollars is “carved out” in payments to states depending on how well they perform and how big their welfare grant is. This year, 42 states competed for the awards, though many don’t get close to their maximum. The most Iowa could have won was six and-a-half million, and Iowa received almost the maximum…six-point-three million. He says D-H-S Director Kevin Concannon wants to use some of the money to restore a job-training program that was scaled back four years ago.
Munns says when you get welfare in this state, you have to take job training or go to school. That’s one area in which Iowa excelled this past year, though he points out the Iowa Workforce Development budget’s been cut back and Concannon “feels that we ought to shore that up.” Another reason for the high reward was the state’s use of a program that covers kids in families that lose Medicaid healthcare when their income goes up slightly. It’s called the Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa, or HAWK-I program.