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Parents FORCED to get children immunized to receive TANF (welfare)

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
My best friend was just forced to get her child immunized against her wishes in order to receive the TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families) check from the government. You have to sign an agreement that you will have your child immunized on "schedule" in order to receive assistance. They told her if she wished to no-vax or even delay vax that she would no longer be eligible to receive benefits.

She is a single mom who is barely making it and depends on assistance while she gets through school- I think it is ridiculous that she is forced into parenting decisions in order to receive assistance- they really put people in a corner "either get your kids vaxed or you don't get your check"- I don't know anyone who would say "well fine we'll just starve."

Just because parents are in financially hard times doesn't mean they should be forced into vaxing!

What can be done about this???
post #2 of 25
ime, its a bunch of bullcrap scare tactics. they tried to do that to me in FL. i refused, they argued, the CW had to check w/her supervisor, but in the end they took the app w/no problem. i was denied b/c my rent was not high enough to make the math work for me, but not b/c of no vax. ppl who are afraid, or who don't know all the facts and how to defend themselves sometimes give in. no offense to your friend, but is she the type to really stand up for herself, or is she more timid?
post #3 of 25
This issue has come up on the forum frequently. Moms have asked about Welfare and WIC. Here is a link to past threads:


post #4 of 25
That is so angering. It is her right as a mother not to vaccinate. I would fight it like all get out and not do it.
post #5 of 25
as I understand it it is NOT a requirement to have your vaccinations up to date or even have them at all to get TANF. Medicaid is a federally funded program. I review these regs everyday. There is nothing in the regs, on a federal level, that demands vaccinations in order to get the benefit. States have the right to implement some of these federal dollars there own way with seperate regs. However, I really don't think they can demand vaccinations be done. They probably ask if children are up to date, have rec'd them, etc so that they can report the stats to the dept. of health. As with any federally funded program she can request a fair hearing in front of a hearing officer and fight this. What state is she in? If you want to discuss this further let me know. I may be able to pull your states medicaid regs and requirements from the web so she can fight this.
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
She is kind of timid- but she showed me the papers she had to sign and one of the requirements was "your child(ren) must be up to date on all vaccinations unless there is a good reason not too (a good reason is defined as a medical condition that warrants delayed vaccinations)"

I know she receives food stamps and medicaid but has been told that unless she vaccinates on schedule she can't get TANF (welfare).

I feel like she is being trampled on but it seems that in GA it is a requirement to have vaxs to get TANF.

Does anyone else know about GA policies? We are a pretty backward state...
post #7 of 25
I'll do some research on it for you. I'll see what I can find out. I still don'tthink that they can do that. Has she appealed? She may be able to appeal that, with continued benefits.
post #8 of 25
The only reason they have to be vaxed here is if you get daycare help and even then you can file an exemption. Both my kids get Medicaid and even they don't have a problem w/ it, they also get WIC, and our food stamps are about to run out b/c my DH got a new job. I would almost bet it's a scare thing b/c most people would just give in and say o.k. w/out trying to fight it.
post #9 of 25
not sure if you have access to the internet of if your friend does but you may want to check this stuff out. Research the Code of Federal Regulations that governs tanf welfare statutes. The code should be listed in orange below.

Department of Human Resources
Online Directives Information System
Index: POL3390
Effective: 3/17/02
Review: 3/1/04
Page 1 of 2

SUBJECT:Provision of Temporary Cash Assistance to Needy Families


The policy of the Department of Human Resources is to provide temporary assistance to needy families to ensure that children may be cared for in their own homes, to assist needy parents to end their dependence on government benefits, to prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and to encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.

A. Authority
Public Law 104-193
Public Law 105-33
O.C.G.A. §§ 49-4-180
DHR Rules, Chapter 290-2-28

B. References
Title IV-A of the Social Security Act
Code of Federal Regulations 45 CFR Parts 260 through 265
C. Applicability
All county Division of Family and Children Services offices in Georgia are subject to the authority and references specified above.

D. Definitions
A needy family is a family whose income and resources fall within standards established by the state.
Temporary assistance refers to the time-limited nature of cash benefits.

E. Responsibilities
1. The Director of the Economic Support Services Section of the Division of Family and Children Services is responsible for developing, issuing and updating the Economic Support Services Program Manual. The Program Manual is indexed as MAN3390.

2. The Director of the Economic Support Services Section of the Division of Family and Children Services is responsible for ensuring that the SUCCESS (System for the Uniform Calculation and Consolidation of Economic Support Services) computer system is a federally certified statewide system that supports and maintains the economic support function.

F. History

G. Evaluation
The outcomes of this directive are evaluated by the Evaluation and Reporting Section of the Division of Family and Children Services. The Evaluation and Reporting Section’s Economic Support unit conducts planned, intensive, annual reviews of county offices to determine if they are in compliance with federally-mandated standards for accuracy and timeliness. Failure to meet the standards may result in loss of federal funding.


__________Jim Martin_______________________________3/17/2002_____________
Commissioner Date
post #10 of 25
[QUOTE=LoveChild421one of the requirements was "your child(ren) must be up to date on all vaccinations unless there is a good reason not too (a good reason is defined as a medical condition that warrants delayed vaccinations)"

I think a "good reason not to" could be a religious exemption. This needs further research. Thanks Vermonter for doing some legwork for this family

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks you guys! I will definately do some research for her- now I have a place to start! I thought there would be a way to file a religious exemption or something. I will tell her to call and ask for a hearing at the very least. Her daughter isn't in daycare at all so she should be ok on that part. She said they told her that to get WIC, food stamps, or Medicaid she doesn't have to vax but to get TANF she does have to. There has to be a way around it- the government can't "make" you vax even if you receive government aid- just like they can't "make" you get on birth control because you're on welfare (TANF). It has to be a scare tactic. I think they justify it by saying "well low income kids are the least likely to have up-to-date vax's so we are doing them a service by making their parents be "responsible""

I hope I can find a way to help her! You guys have helped a lot! Anything you find out would be much appreciated!
post #12 of 25
well, found some more information in the regs. Unfortunately, believe it or not there is a stipulation in the regs for immunizations. I've copied what I can find. I'll check the federal regs to see what they report. Federal regs may supercede the state. here are what the regs from Georgia say:

(A) There is appropriate evidence from the local health
department or a physician that an immunization sequence has been
started and can be completed within a period of up to 180 days,
in which case a waiver of the immunization requirement for up to
180 days shall be granted;

(B) After examination by the local board of health or a
physician, any preschool age child is found to have a physical
disability which may make vaccination undesirable, in which case
a certificate to that effect issued by the local board of health
or the physician may be accepted in lieu of a certificate of
immunization and shall exempt the child from obtaining a
certificate of immunization until the disability is relieved;

(C) The parent or legal guardian furnishes an affidavit swearing
or affirming that the immunization conflicts with the religious
beliefs of the parent or legal guardian; or

(D) The implementation of such an immunization requirement
violates any federal law or regulations or would result in the
loss of any federal funds to this state; and

Also, remember in some states religion can mean "the church of jen". So, find out what qualifies "religious".
Any Georgia moms out there use a religious exemption?

post #13 of 25
We have freedom of religion in this country. That means you have the freedom to say "vaccination is against my religious beliefs" and you do not have to elaborate--it is actually a violation of your religious freedom to be questioned about what specifically your religious beliefs or affiliation are.

This page has good information about writing up your own religious exemption in Georgia:

post #14 of 25
If she want to avoid immunizations she will probably have to use a religious exemption. There are site out there that define whether it is simply an statement or church membership requirement by state. IF the state as a philisophical exemption that would be best.
When we went on WIC they wanted to do blood work and I told them it was against my religious convictions and they said no more asked for nothing. I was suppose to sign something, but they never came back to have me sign anything. I was never asked for the boys vax records either.
I can't imagine that it is constitutional to force vaxes on this family. I hope she hasn't done so yet. She is lucky to have a friend to help her and maybe you could go with her to be her voice if she is timid in nature.
post #15 of 25
I agree that things shouldn't be that way but most people, government agencies, etc regard vaxes as risk free and necessary to keep children healthy.

If you want to change things then you need to let as many people know as you can how dangerous they can be and how effective they are not.

And on another note I'm guessing they don't force moms into breastfeeding but let them buy formula if they choose to go that feeding route.
post #16 of 25
I looked into this recently and if you have an exemption (the same one that works for public school or daycare) they can not turn you down. They were supposedly trying to stop parents from not vaccinating out of laziness or because they thought they could save money that way. They absolutely cannot deny you assistance for not vaccinating if you have a state exemption. Here in Tx it is really easy to get the exemptions too. I think they did it to try to pressure parents who were afraid to fight them and afraid of losing their benefits. It is hard to be an advocate for yourself and your kids when you are afraid that you might starve to death if you try.
post #17 of 25
Blah. I am guessing, from reading the other posts, that there has to be an exemption. She could always use the line my dad suggested to me....

"If you are forcing me to vaccinate my child against my expressed wishes and he has any reaction to it I will be forced to sue not only the state of Michigan but you personally. So go ahead, I would love to have a couple million handed to me."

I have not used this line yet, as DS's doctor has agreed with me so far. At his first WIC appointment I was asked about vaccines and I just said "His doctor and I are working on it" and they dropped it. I've never been questioned about it by Medicaid (thanking my lucky stars). I am so afraid I'm going to get a letter in the mail some day telling me to get his vaccines done or he's getting cut off Medicaid (he currently does not have the MMR or chicken pox because he is allergic to ingredients in both, along with other reasons).
post #18 of 25
There was a recent court ruling re' this (forgive me if it was already mentioned; I just scanned). It dealt with, actually, restrictions on alcohol use as a requirement for welfare funds, and found that the feds/state had NO right to deny benefits based on such a thing. It is widely interpreted to cover vaccination choice as well.

I am currently on food stamps and my children are on Medicaid. (only used it for dental so far, since my kids are healthy and I hesitate to deal with the inevitable confrontation involved with taking unvaxed kids to a Medicaid check-up. However, the info I received states that I have the right to refuse any treatment. I intend to take that with me to any appointments.

I did not apply for the TANF (Temp. Aid to Needy Families), but I noticed that page included questions regarding drug use/convictions as a condition of benefits. (which was, if I am not mistaken, what the court ruling dealt with)

Now, one of the things listed as something I had to bring/show proof of at my interview for FS was "proof of immunizations". I fretted a bit when I saw that, but decided to just take everything else and explain, when asked, that we did not vax. (and that my kids were not in daycare/school anyway, so the law did not, as written, apply to them anyway)

But you know what? They never asked. Asked me for EVERYTHING else but never the vax records. I am up for renewal right now, so it may be that they ask this time, but if so, I will deal with it.
I have a legal exemption in hand, (Mine are now on a conscientious ex. here in TX)
and if it comes to it, I will do without the $$$ for food rather than vax my children.

I have since heard that they CANNOT deny benefits because of this (I am pretty sure of this, though they will not tell you this, and will in fact tell you the opposite)

And if the state has a legal exemption which the parent claims, NO WAY can they deny benefits! No more than the public schools can.

This sort of thing is RIDICULOUS! The poor and those in temp. need of assistance have the SAME rights as everyone else! I hope your friend is able to defend hers.

mom to John, 12
Sage, 5
post #19 of 25
OT big time, but StephandOwen: Will your dad adopt me? My family thinks I'm NUTS for not vaxxing!!!!!

post #20 of 25
Originally Posted by stayathomecristi
OT big time, but StephandOwen: Will your dad adopt me? My family thinks I'm NUTS for not vaxxing!!!!!


LOL! He's definately not anti-vaccine.... but I'm working on him All 5 of his kids are vaccinated (oldest is 24, youngest is 8). He doesn't see the point of the chicken pox vaccine and doesn't understand why anyone would get it. The flu one he was actually considering, but that was actually sweet of him because he knew my DS couldn't get it (allergic to an ingredient) so dad's doctor told him he (dad) could get it and it would help keep my DS from getting sick. After he and I talked about it he ended up not getting it. He is very supportive of me not getting a few vaccines for now that DS is allergic to some of the ingredients (I used the scare tactic on that one and started telling him stories of children having allergic reactions to them ).

On the flip side my mom and I got into a small disagreement about it, where she made me feel like a moron for not getting DS 5 vaccines in one day- 3 of which he was allergic to ingredients Yeah, try and tell me he's not going to have a reaction to any of those Mom and dad are divorced and her youngest is 2 and fully vac'd (with the exception of the flu, I don't believe she got that). We have a friendly contest going here. Her DD got the chicken pox shot and she insists it is 100% effective and her DD won't get the chicken pox. My DS didn't get that shot and won't get that shot. I am hoping he gets the chicken pox before he starts school. We shall see if her DD's shot was "100% effective" if she ends up getting the chicken pox from my DS.
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