Public Benefits

New Mexico has the nation’s highest poverty rate, with 20% of adults and 29% of children living in poverty. One in three children in New Mexico is living in poverty. New Mexico also leads the nation in food insecurity with the second highest rate of hunger overall and the highest rate of child hunger in the nation.

Public benefit programs provide low-income individuals and families with essential supports and stability. Many New Mexicans, however, are not fully utilizing these programs due in part to program complexity and other barriers to access. Those fully utilizing these programs often find that available supports are insufficient to meet basic needs or provide a path out of poverty.

We recognize that all individuals and families should have their fundamental human needs met and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Therefore, we advocate for laws, policies and reforms that provide low-income individuals and families with dignity, stability and social and economic opportunities. We work to ensure that critical public benefit programs remain available and accessible to those most in need. This has been a major focus of the Center’s attention and efforts since our inception in 1995, and includes work in the following areas:

        • APPLICATION RIGHTS:

          Working to ensure all New Mexicans can apply for and receive benefits if they are eligible and educating community members about their rights in the application and eligibility determination process.

        • IMMIGRANTS AND PUBLIC BENEFITS:

          Educating community members, advocates, and the state about the rules governing immigrant eligibility for benefits, and advocating for policies and practices that remove barriers to ensure that eligible immigrant families can access the support they need.

        • SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SNAP):

          Increasing eligibility for and benefits provided by the SNAP program while removing barriers to participation to leverage additional federal funds to support the local economy while helping hungry New Mexicans put food on the table.

        • MEDICAID:

          Protecting and improving the Medicaid program in New Mexico to increase enrollment and retention of low income families, adults, and children.

        • TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE FOR NEEDY FAMILIES (TANF):

          Ensuring federal TANF funds provided to New Mexico are used to help extremely low-income families meet their basic needs.

        • GENERAL ASSISTANCE:

          Protecting funding for this safety net of last resort primarily serving extremely low-income disabled adults and addressing barriers to access faced by the most vulnerable New Mexicans.

        • UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE

        •  

        • LANGUAGE ACCESS

          Addressing linguistic barriers that obstruct people’s access to benefits.