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Posts on Family Income Support
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
April 12, 2018

President Trump and Republican lawmakers have argued that basing people’s eligibility for food, medical, and housing assistance on meeting rigid work requirements will set them on a path to a better future.  In his 2018 farm bill to reauthorize SNAP (formerly food stamps), for example, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway has proposed expensive, untested new work requirements...

Saw and Hearing Protection
January 24, 2018

The vast majority of Kansas families forced from the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance program due to harsh work sanctions starting in 2011 faced extreme economic hardship after leaving, our new report shows. Most parents...

Most Kansas Parents Worked Both Before and After Leaving TANF
January 10, 2018

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is expected to announce this week that states may block some low-income adults from getting Medicaid coverage if they’re not working or participating in work-related activities. But evidence from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program — which policymakers are touting as a model for work requirements in other programs,...

Women filing application

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