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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.


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.

Michigan’s Tighter TANF Time Limits on Hold, for Now

October 5, 2011

Earlier this week I wrote about recent cutbacks in state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs, including a tightening of Michigan’s time limit that ended benefits for nearly 12,000 families. Since then, a federal judge has temporarily halted the benefit cutoff for these families.

The Latest on State TANF Cuts

October 3, 2011

We’ve updated our analysis of the cuts that states made this year in their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs. Here’s a brief look at our findings:

Michigan’s Mis-Timed TANF Cut

August 31, 2011

A report from the Port Huron Times Herald this week noted that, to help reduce the state’s budget shortfall, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign legislation to reduce the time that individuals can receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or welfare, assistance. The new 48-month limit is expected to cause more than 11,000 people to lose benefits at the October 1 start of the fiscal year.

State Budget Cuts Hitting TANF, the Safety Net of Last Resort

May 19, 2011

Facing another year of large budget shortfalls because of the weak economy, states are making deep cuts in many education and human service programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). We issued a report today detailing those cuts. Here’s the overview:

TANF Benefits Small and Shrinking

October 15, 2010

Benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which are set by the states, fall far short of providing for families’ basic needs, says a report we issued yesterday.

Approaching Labor Day, Job-Creating Program Faces Expiration

September 2, 2010

We know that we’ve talked about the job-creating TANF Emergency Fund a lot on this blog, but its merits bear repeating as we approach Labor Day – a day that celebrates the American worker. Labor Day is a yearly national tribute to workers’ contributions to our country’s strength and prosperity. The subsidized jobs that the TANF Emergency Fund have created have done exactly that — helped to support and stabilize families and helped workers and businesses weather this recession and build toward a better future.