Cash Assistance Should Promote Equity
TANF falls far short of what it should be. It reaches few families in need and provides inadequate cash aid and other assistance to help families resolve crises and improve their well-being.
TANF reaches many fewer families than it used to, and states are increasingly using federal and state TANF dollars for programs and services that do not target the families with the lowest incomes. Also, TANF benefits have lost one-fifth of their value since 1996 in most states. We analyze how federal TANF policies affect states and explore ways that federal policymakers can improve the program to better serve families living below the poverty line.