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Kansas Bill Will Increase Burdens on TANF Families

April 8, 2015

Making ends meet on the low benefits that states provide to families through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is hard enough.  Kansas policymakers just made it even harder.

The state’s legislature last week passed a bill, which Gov. Sam...

Effective Home Visiting Programs for High-Risk Families in Jeopardy Unless Congress Acts

March 10, 2014

A federal-state partnership that supports family- and child-related home visiting programs in every state is slated to expire October 1, threatening a host of programs that are effective at strengthening high-risk families and saving money over the long run, according to a paper we issued today with the Center for Law and...

Next Week’s SNAP Cut Will Worsen Struggles for Many TANF Families

October 23, 2013

The cash assistance benefits that some poor families receive through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program are already low, as states have allowed inflation to erode their value over time.  Now, other support that many of these same families receive is poised to fall, too, when a temporary increase in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps)...

Purchasing Power of TANF Benefits Fell Further in 2012

March 28, 2013

Cash assistance for the nation’s poorest families with children fell again in purchasing power in 2012, we detail in our annual update of state benefit levels under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  Most states left their benefit levels unchanged last year, so benefits continued to erode by inflation...

Santorum’s Right: Better Access to Education Is a Key Part of Welfare Reform

August 28, 2012

Former Senator Rick Santorum argues in today’s Wall Street Journal that gaining work skills through better access to education and skills training should be an essential part of welfare reform.

We agree — but these are exactly the kind of improvements that...

A Layered Look at State Spending Under TANF

August 8, 2012

In a new paper, we’ve studied how states have used their federal and state funds under the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program since it — and its structure as a block grant — replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children in 1996.

That analysis revealed some troubling national trends...

States’ TANF Spending Record Shows Dangers in Block Granting the Safety Net

August 7, 2012

Some policymakers, such as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, have suggested that the government restructure a variety of federally funded programs for low-income families — including Medicaid and SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) — similar to the way the 1996 welfare law converted the Aid to Families with...

Pennsylvania Shuts Down Its Safety Net of Last Resort

August 1, 2012

Pennsylvania ended cash assistance today for very poor residents who cannot work and don’t qualify for other assistance, joining many other states that have scaled back or eliminated their General Assistance programs even as the need has grown.

Roughly 60,000 childless adults (and the adult heads of some families) whom the state considers unemployable because of a...

Hardship in America, Part 2: Safety Net Withering for Poor Families with Children

November 22, 2011

The Great Recession has exposed both the strengths and weaknesses of our nation’s safety net.  The Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and Medicaid have shown  that safety-net programs can, if designed properly, push back against increased hardship during a downturn by responding automatically to sharp and sudden increases in need.

Unfortunately,...

State Help for Poor Childless Adults Weakening

October 26, 2011

Despite persistent high unemployment, a number of states are shrinking or eliminating their General Assistance programs, which provide a safety net of last resort for those who are very poor and don’t qualify for other public assistance. Our new survey — the first comprehensive, published survey on General Assistance programs in 13 years — finds that seven states cut General Assistance this year, continuing a long-term erosion in these important programs.

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