TANF Emergency Fund: State Applications Approved as of September 30
Oct 01, 2010 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Elizabeth Kenefick
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Section 2101 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) created a new TANF Emergency Fund, funded at $5 billion. This federal fund provided states 80 percent of the funding for spending increases in certain categories of TANF-related expenditures in FYs 2009 or 2010 over FYs 2007 or 2008. Each state could receive no more than 50 percent of its annual block grant over the two-year period from the combination of the new Emergency Fund and the regular Contingency Fund.
As of September 30, 2010, 49 states (plus the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico) have been awarded a total of $4.986 billion from the Emergency Fund. Tribes received the remaining $14 million allocated to the fund.[i] Wyoming is the only state that was not been approved for Emergency Funds. These figures are not final, because states were awarded funds based on their estimates of what they were going to spend. They must now provide information to HHS showing actual expenditures, and must return any funds received in excess of the amount for which they qualified. HHS has indicated that it will use returned funds to make payments to states that were not able to receive the full amount for which they qualified due to lack of sufficient funds.
Figure 1 shows the percent of the total allocation each state received from the Emergency Fund.
Figure 2 shows the percent of the total allocation each state received from a combination of the Emergency Fund and the Contingency Fund. Eighteen states received funds from the Contingency Fund in FY 2009 and 15 (plus DC) received funds during FY 2010, though Michigan and Washington have since returned their FY 2010 Contingency Fund allocation in order to increase their eligibility for Emergency Funds. The regular Contingency Fund ran out of money in December 2009. However, when states returned money from the Contingency Fund in order to become eligible for increased Emergency Funds, these funds were reallocated to the other states that had applied for Contingency Funds, assuming that those states had not already reached their maximum allocation.
States received the most money based on increased spending on short-term non-recurrent benefits. Forty-four states (plus DC, VI, and PR) received $1.598 billion based on increased cash assistance caseloads, 42 (plus DC and PR) received $2.07 billion based on increased spending on short-term non-recurrent assistance, and 39 (plus DC, VI, and PR) have received $1.318 billion based on increased spending on subsidized employment. Based on a survey of states, approximately 235,000 low-income parents and youth were employed as result of the subsidized jobs program.[ii]
The states that received the largest amounts of funding were California and New York. The majority of California's award was for increased basic assistance; California received more in this category as well as in subsidized employment than any other state. New York received more for non-recurrent short-term benefits than any other state. Seventeen states and DC drew down their entire allocations: Louisiana, Hawaii, Texas, Oregon, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Maryland, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Michigan, Delaware, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, and Washington.
[i] Information was collected directly from state officials or from published documents by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Center for Law and Social Policy.
[ii] All Emergency and Contingency Fund data from HHS, Approved TANF Emergency Fund Applications by Category, September 30, 2010. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/tanf/apprTANFemerfund.html In addition, 25 tribes have been awarded $14,235,730 million. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/tanf/apprTANFemerfund_tribe.html