In every state, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant supports cash assistance and a wide range of other programs and services for low-income children and families. CLASP conducts policy analysis and provides technical assistance on TANF to state and federal officials and administrators, advocacy organizations, grassroots groups, and research entities.
Sep 19, 2014 | PERMALINK »
TANF Extended through Continuing Resolution
Before departing to campaign, members of Congress extended the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant through December 11, 2014, as part of the continuing resolution to keep the government running. Without this legislation, TANF would have lapsed on September 30. Since 2010, TANF has been operating under a series of short-term extensions, often tied to appropriations bills.
While the TANF extension did not include any policy changes, it did include two funding cuts:
- The Contingency Fund was cut to $598 million, down from the previously authorized level of $612. In FY 2014, 20 states requested funds from the Contingency Fund. States must qualify based on high levels of unemployment or receipt of nutrition benefits, and must spend state dollars above historical levels on services for needy families.
- No money was provided for TANF-related research, which has been set at $15 million per year since TANF was created in 1996. If these funds are not restored, several major studies of employment strategies currently under way will be at risk.
There is still the possibility that these cuts could be restored when Congress returns in November and grapples with how to provide for funding for the rest of the year, either through appropriations bills or an additional continuing resolution.
In addition, before recessing, the House of Representatives passed by voice vote HR 4137, which would add stores that sell marijuana to the list of locations where states are required to prohibit TANF recipients from accessing their benefits through EBT transactions. This builds on a provision, enacted in 2012, that requires states to block recipients from withdrawing TANF benefits at liquor stores, casinos and strip clubs. There is no evidence that either provision addresses a real problem; rather, like proposals to require recipients to submit to drug tests, they are based on unfounded stereotypes about welfare recipients.
TANF Emergency FundThe American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 created a new TANF Emergency Fund to assist states in expanding services during the recession. READ MORE »
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- Elizabeth Lower-Basch | Feb 28, 2013 Hearing Testimony on Waiving Work Requirements in the TANF Program
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- Elizabeth Lower-Basch | May 08, 2014 CLASP Comments on TANF EBT Access Restrictions
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