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Posts on Family Income Support
November 13, 2018

Promoting the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program as a model, some state and federal policymakers are considering, or have imposed, policies to take away SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, or housing assistance from people who don’t work or engage in work-related activities for a specified number of hours each month. But, as our...

1990s Pilot Programs with Work Requirements Raised Deep Poverty
October 25, 2018

As we’ve noted, more than a dozen states and the District of Columbia have increased cash benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program for this year or next. Nevertheless, TANF benefits will still be at or below 60 percent of the poverty line in every state, as our...

More Than Half of Black People Live in States With Little TANF Assistance
October 22, 2018

Fifteen states plus the District of Columbia raised benefits for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in fiscal year 2018 (which began July 1, 2017 in most states) or 2019. (See table.) Still, benefits are at or below 60 percent of the federal poverty line in every state, as our...

Family in Front of House
August 23, 2018

Under the TANF block grant, states get a fixed amount of federal funding each year and must also contribute some state funding. In drafting the 1996 law, federal policymakers gave states broad flexibility in how they can spend these federal and state TANF funds on the theory that states would invest the savings from declining cash assistance caseloads into work programs and work supports, such as child care or transportation. But that isn’t what happened.

How States Spent Federal and State TANF Funds in 2016
August 23, 2018

Some policymakers have pointed to TANF’s performance as a work program as a reason to extend TANF-like work requirements to other programs, but the facts suggest otherwise. TANF has never lived up to its promise of moving families out of poverty through work.

Saw and Hearing Protection
August 22, 2018

The TANF block grant is supposed provide a temporary safety net to poor families, primarily those with no other means to meet basic needs. But the reach of cash assistance has declined dramatically over time.

Mother With Two Children
August 21, 2018

TANF reaches far fewer poor families than its predecessor, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), and the families who manage to receive TANF cash assistance rely on increasingly inadequate benefits that make it hard for parents and caregivers to provide the basics for their children.

TANF Serves Hardly Any Poor Families in Some States
August 20, 2018

For the millions of Americans struggling to afford the basics — such as food, medicine, and shelter — cash income is essential to averting extreme hardship and deprivation. Government economic security programs often don’t reach all families in need or provide adequate benefits. 

Single Penny
July 23, 2018

Barriers such as limited skills or work experience can get in the way for some who want to find and keep a job in both good and bad times. Although today’s official unemployment rate is low, many workers still have trouble finding jobs that pay enough to cover the basics. As we explain in...

Waiting in Line
April 16, 2018

Under the work requirement provisions in House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway’s farm bill, we estimate that states will need to provide employment assistance such as structured job search assistance, training, or volunteer work opportunities to 3 million people.  But the bill’s $1 billion per year in funding for work programs amounts to just $30 per person per month. That would...

Women filing application

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