The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant was scheduled for reauthorization in 2010. Congress, however, did not work on legislation to reauthorize the program and instead extended the TANF block grant multiple times. The most recent extension was part of the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014 (P.L. 113-46) passed in October 2013, and extends TANF through January 15, 2014.
Because of the lapse in authority, states did not receive TANF funds during the early part of October 2013. HHS has confirmed that, as CLASP advised, states may request reimbursement from federal funds for expenditures made with state funds from October 1 to 16, or may claim such expenditures toward the maintenance of effort requirement.
In March 2013, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would have blocked the Administration from granting TANF waivers, The Senate has not brought up comparable legislation, but due to the uncertainty over the possibility of Congressional action, no states have yet submitted waiver requests. As CLASP tesifified before the House Ways and Means Committee, we believe that such waivers could be a valuable means of testing new approaches to improving the work programs under TANF.
Since the passage of H.R. 2943 the Supplemental Grants have not been funded. These additional allotments were created by the 1996 welfare bill to adjust for historical inequalities in the amount of funding received by different states. The decrease began when the Claims Resolution Act did not provide fully FY 2011 funding for these grants. On June 22, 2011, Lloyd Doggett introduced a bill to provide funding for these grants for the duration of FY 2011, but it did not pass.
The TANF block grant provides funding to states that supports cash assistance programs and a wide range of other benefits and services for low-income families. We hope that Congress will act in 2013 to extend -- and improve -- Temporary Assistance.
The goals of reauthorization should be to:
- Focus on alleviating poverty and preventing material hardship among children and families, especially those who are particularly vulnerable due to circumstances such as disability, domestic violence, or homelessness.
- Create effective pathways to economic opportunity, including access to mainstream education and training and individualized services for those with barriers to employment.
Resources and Publications
FEB 06, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch
Goals for TANF Reauthorization This updated Policy Brief argues that poverty alievation and prevention of material hardship and creation of effective pathways to economic opportunity should be the goals of TANF reauthorization and recommends program changes that would more effectively promote these goals.
Jan 21, 2011 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch
Cash Assistance since Welfare Reform This updated Policy Brief summarizes trends in cash assistance since welfare reform -- declining caseloads, progress in employment and poverty reduction in the early years, with setbacks since 2001, and an intense focus on meeting work participation rate requirements.
Jan 21, 2011 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant This updated Policy Brief explores the wide range of programs for low-income families supported by the TANF block grant and the declining share of the grant dedicated to cash assistance. It also highlights the degree to which the grant has been eroded by inflation and population growth.
Dec 09, 2010 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch
2011 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Extension In late November, the House and Senate extended the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant for the duration of federal fiscal year 2011, as part of H.R. 4783, the Claims Resolution Act of 2010. President Obama recently signed it into law (P.L. 111-291). This fact sheet summarizes the changes made by it.
oct 5, 2010 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch
Lessons from the TANF Emergency Fund In September 2010, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on Welfare Reform: A New Conversation on Women and Poverty. CLASP's testimony for the record focuses on the experience of the TANF Emergency Fund and the lessons that can be taken from it for reauthorization.
Apr 22, 2010 | Julie Strawn
The Role of Education and Training in the TANF Program On April 22, Julie Strawn testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the importance of education and training in today's economy, and the role that TANF can play in helping low-income parents obtain economic opportunity and better the lives of their children.
MAR 25, 2010 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch
TANF's Role in Providing Assistance to Struggling Families Testimony for the record for House Ways and Means Committee Hearing on TANF's Role in Providing Assistance to Struggling Families.
Jul 24, 2009 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch
Looking Ahead to TANF Reauthorization This presentation provides an overview of the trends in welfare receipt and work since the 1996 creation of the TANF block grant and highlights the modest levels of caseload increase in the current recession. It concludes with some thoughts about TANF reauthorization, scheduled for 2010.
View all CLASP publications on Temporary Assistance.