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Posts on Family Income Support
April 8, 2019

SNAP’s harsh three-month limit on food assistance, which the Administration wants to make even harsher, reflects the idea that taking food away from jobless adults will lead them to work or earn more. But repeated studies, including a new report from the nonprofit consulting firm ideas42,...

Adult in grocery store with empty basket
April 8, 2019

Taking government benefits away from people who don’t meet work requirements ignores a body of scientific evidence that these policies make it harder for people to find and maintain employment, according to a new report.

That’s because such policies — a central piece of Republican...

Woman Operating Machinery
April 1, 2019

Companion bills from House and Senate Republicans to reauthorize the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, which is set to expire June 30, would make it harder for states to tailor appropriate plans to meet the needs of the most vulnerable families...

Worker Using Saw
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

January 22, 2019: We’ve updated this post to reflect Nevada’s 2018 increase of TANF benefits.

Sixteen 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...

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

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