Nevada Welfare Rolls Hit Two-Year Low

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The number of families getting cash assistance from Nevada has fallen to its lowest point in nearly two years, and Gov. Kenny Guinn says that's "good news" for Nevada if the trend continues.

But the numbers of people getting Medicaid and food stamps haven't dropped this fiscal year, prompting Guinn to point out that budget shortfalls may be on the horizon if those programs continue to grow.

"We must keep in mind that continued increases in other human service programs indicate an overall shift in caseloads rather than a decline," Guinn said.

The state Welfare Division says the number of people enrolled in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families dropped to 25,904 in September. That made for the fourth straight month of declining numbers and the lowest number since October 2001, when 23,844 received welfare.

But Medicaid and food stamps numbers have increased over the last year.

For the first three months of this fiscal year, which ends June 30, the average monthly caseload for families receiving cash assistance was 26,757. The Legislature allocated enough money for a monthly average of 31,021.

Nevadans on Medicaid numbered 168,872 in September, about the same as in August. For the first three months of this fiscal year, the average caseload has been 169,311 and Medicaid numbers have increased in eight of the last 12 months.

The number of people getting food stamps fell slightly to 117,852 in September, but that's still above projections.