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Posts on Family Income Support
October 22, 2020

Low benefits in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program are rooted in historical racism, especially in the South, where cash assistance has been consistently weaker since policymakers created TANF’s predecessor nearly a century ago. The result is now a program that does not cover the basic needs of low-income families during times of joblessness, illness, or disability....

Cash Assistance - Historically Weak in South - Now Weak in Most States
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October 14, 2020

Now that New Jersey has repealed its “family cap” law that denied more cash assistance to families that have another child while enrolled in its Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the 12 remaining states with these laws in their TANF programs should follow suit. The laws not only have racist and sexist roots but constitute bad policy, denying children the resources they...

In Focus: 12 States Still Have Racist Policies Denying Benefits to Children Born in Families Already on TANF
July 30, 2020

The economic relief package that policymakers are now negotiating must both reduce extreme hardship and lay the groundwork for a strong recovery. Funding for subsidized jobs — an effective approach during the Great Recession of a decade ago — could help address both goals. The Senate Republican plan doesn’t include enough funding to address hardship and doesn’t let the funds go to subsidized...

Person in button-down shirt writing on clipboard with pen
July 30, 2020

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Coronavirus Emergency Fund in the Senate Republican relief plan is a step in the right direction, but it won’t nearly meet the sharply rising need due to COVID-19 and the resulting recession. Its $2 billion is just 40 percent of the $5 billion that states received...

Distressed parent at kitchen table with child and pile of bills
July 20, 2020

CBPP partnered with LIFT, a human service organization that works in underserved communities of color in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C., to examine the pandemic’s impact on families with children, with very low incomes and limited savings, that are living in neighborhoods that were hard hit by the pandemic. We asked LIFT’s CEO, Michelle Rhone-Collins, what LIFT has...

Smiling person looking into distance
May 11, 2020

The health and economic burdens of COVID-19 are falling disproportionately on people of color and people with very low incomes — who faced significant economic and health challenges before the pandemic — and the new Pandemic TANF Assistance Act would provide financial assistance to many of these families and protection from the negative consequences of previous policies.

Past policy...

Parent and child holding hands
May 5, 2020

As states’ revenues plummet and they shift resources to fight the public health crisis, state officials will be looking for ways to fill their budget shortfalls and meet their balanced-budget requirements. In the face of extreme and growing hardship created by the COVID-19 pandemic and deep economic downturn, states shouldn’t use Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to help...

TANF at Weakest Point Amid Fiscal Crisis and Growing Need
May 4, 2020

Amid COVID-19 and the resulting economic fallout, states will need additional resources to provide basic income assistance and emergency aid to families and individuals facing severe economic hardship. A flexible emergency fund targeted to families and individuals with the lowest incomes, modeled on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund during the Great Recession,...

Parent kissing child in grocery store
April 14, 2020

The number of people in need who are applying for help under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is on track to grow quickly and dramatically during the economic downturn, early data suggest, and federal policymakers should take steps to ensure that TANF continues providing a lifeline to families during what will likely be a long economic recovery....

TANF Applications in Florida Have Risen Dramatically
March 4, 2020

The share of children of color living in deep poverty (below half the poverty line) rose in the decade after a 1996 law created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant and weakened other anti-poverty programs, my colleagues have found....

In Focus: TANF’s Reach Declined Significantly Over Time

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