BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts Democratic lawmakers and advocates for low-income residents are calling for a change in state welfare rules that deny additional increases in benefits for parents who have more children while on welfare.

The rule was established as part of a 1995 welfare reform law, and was meant to discourage parents on welfare from conceiving additional children.

Backers of a bill seeking to abolish what is often called the ``family cap'' say it only serves to punish children while failing to keep more kids from being born into poverty.

The Legislature's Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities is considering the legislation that supporters say could help as many as 9,000 children.

Estimates are the change would cost the state up to $13 million annually.

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