TANF 101: TANF in the Great Recession

From December 2007 to June 2009, the Great Recession highlighted the weakness of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) as a safety net. TANF did not adequately respond to the sharp increase in need. During this period, unemployment rates climbed, peaking at 10 percent in October 2009 and driving millions of families into poverty. While families grappled with job loss and struggled to meet basic needs, TANF failed to react as a countercyclical measure for low-income households.