In this podcast we’ll discuss the Emergency Fund of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program – also known as TANF. I’m Michelle Bazie and I’m joined by the Director of the Center’s Welfare Reform and Income Support Division, Dr. LaDonna Pavetti.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
South Carolina is one of 30-odd states that are using the TANF Emergency Fund to help create nearly 200,000 subsidized jobs across the country — and one of many states that will have to start shutting down their programs in the next few weeks if Congress fails to extend the fund. States are using the fund, which Congress created in last year’s Recovery Act, to help cover the wages for private- or public-sector jobs for low-income parents and youth, including people who would otherwise qualify for cash assistance through the regular TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) program.
“A Jobs Program that Works” is New York Times columnist Bob Herbert’s apt description of the TANF Emergency Fund, which more than 30 states are using to help create private- and public-sector jobs for nearly 200,000 adults and youth. The job market’s continued weakness shows why these programs remain important tools for boosting employment and the overall economy. But as I’ve warned, many states will begin shutting down their programs in the next few weeks unless Congress extends the fund.
I’ve been calling the TANF Emergency Fund the Recovery Act’s best-kept secret, but the secret is out — just ask the nearly 200,000* adults and youth who will get jobs through one of the many subsidized jobs programs the fund supports across the country (see map). The Senate is considering jobs legislation that would extend the fund (which expires September 30) for a year and fully offset the cost. This may be the last chance for congressional action before both the fund and most of those jobs disappear.
Donna Pavetti, director of the Center's welfare reform and income support division, discussed the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund and the U.S. Welfare System on C-SPAN's Washington Journal this morning.
Watch the interview here or on C-SPAN's website:
Misplaced budgetary concerns are impeding major legislation that would create and preserve jobs, continue unemployment and health benefits for those who are out of work, and fix Medicare’s flawed payment formula for physicians for several years.
Given the wildly inaccurate description of the TANF Emergency Fund on the “YouCut” website, the vote to eliminate the program is meaningless. Far from a “backdoor way to undo” welfare reform, the fund has enabled states to expand work-focused programs within TANF despite high unemployment and a weak economy.
In an earlier post, I explained that the TANF Emergency Fund is helping to place some 180,000 low-income parents and youth who would otherwise be unemployed into paid jobs in the private and public sectors. The table below lists the estimated number of jobs in most of the 35 states that are operating jobs programs (or are planning to) using the fund.
A little-known component of last year’s Recovery Act is helping to place some 180,000 unemployed individuals in subsidized jobs across the country. But the program — and almost all of those jobs — will disappear soon unless Congress acts.
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