The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: Responses to Frequently Asked Questions

The Temporary Assistance for
January 25, 2021
Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant:
Gene Falk
Responses to Frequently Asked Questions
Specialist in Social Policy

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant funds a wide range of
Patrick A. Landers
benefits and services for low-income families with children. TANF was created in the Personal
Analyst in Social Policy
Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-193). This report responds to some

frequently asked questions about TANF; it does not describe TANF rules (see, instead, CRS
Report RL32748, The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: A Primer
For a copy of the ful report,
on TANF Financing and Federal Requirements, by Gene Falk).
please cal 7-5700 or visit
www.crs.gov.
TANF Funding and Expenditures. TANF provides fixed funding for the 50 states, the District
of Columbia, the territories, and American Indian tribes. The basic block grant totals $16.5 billion per year. States are als o
required in total to contribute, from their own funds, at least $10.3 billion annually under a maintenance -of-effort (MOE)
requirement. The basic block grant is not adjusted for changes in circumstances (e.g., inflation, population) over time. In
FY2020, the TANF basic block grant was 38% below what its value (adjusting for inflation) was in FY1997.
Though TANF is best known for funding basic assistance payments for needy families with children, the block grant and
MOE funds are used for a wide variety of benefits and activities. In FY2019, expenditures on basic assistance totaled $6.5
billion—21% of total federal TANF and MOE dollars. Basic assistance is often—but not exclusively—paid as cash and on an
ongoing basis (monthly). In addition to funding basic assistance, TANF also contributes funds for child care, employment
services (for both assistance recipients and others), state refundable tax credits for low income families, pre-Kindergarten and
Head Start programs, and services for children who have been, or are at risk of being, abused and neglected. Some states also
count expenditures in prekindergarten programs toward the MOE requirement.
The TANF Assistance Caseload. A total of 1.1 million families, composed of 2.9 million recipients, received TANF- or
MOE-funded assistance in June 2020. The bulk of the “recipients” were children—2.1 million in that month. The assis tance
caseload is heterogeneous. The type of family once thought of as the “typical” assistance family—one with an unemployed
adult recipient—accounted for 32% of all families on the rolls in FY2019. Additionally, 26% of cash assistance families had
an employed adult, while 42% of all TANF families were “child-only” and had no adult recipient. Child-only families
include those with disabled adults receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), adults who are nonparents (e.g.,
grandparents, aunts, uncles) caring for children, and families consisting of citizen children and ineligible noncitizen parents.
Assistance Benefits. TANF assistance benefit amounts are set by states. In July 2018, the maximum monthly benefit for a
family of three ranged from $1,039 in New Hampshire to $170 in Mississippi. Only New Hampshire (at 60% of the federal
poverty guidelines) had a maximum TANF assistance amount for this sized family in excess of 50% of poverty-level income.
Work Requirements. TANF’s main federal work requirement is a performance measure that applies to the states. States
determine the work rules that apply to individual recipients. TANF law requires states to engage 50% of all families and 90%
of two-parent families with work-eligible individuals in work activities, though these standards can be reduced by “credits.”
Therefore, the effective standards states face are often less than the 50% or 90% targets, and vary by state. In FY2019, states
achieved, on average, an all-family participation rate of 47.1% and a two-parent rate of 54.8%. In FY2019, only Montana did
not meet the all-family participation standard and five jurisdictions (California, Montana, Nevada, Rhode Island, and
Wyoming) did not meet the two-parent standard.
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is likely to affect states’ ability to meet TANF work standards. These
standards are in statute and cannot be waived other than through legislation. However, the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services (HHS) can waive financial penalties for states that do not meet standards. In policy guidance, HHS has said
it would use its authority to provide relief from the penalty for not meeting work standards “to the maximum extent
possible.”
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Contents
Introduction ................................................................................................................... 1
Funding and Expenditures ................................................................................................ 1

What Is TANF’s Funding Status? ................................................................................. 1
How Are State TANF Programs Funded? ...................................................................... 1
How Much Has the Value of the TANF Basic Block Grant Changed Over Time?................. 1
How Have States Used TANF Funds? ........................................................................... 2
How Much of the TANF Grant Has Gone Unspent? ........................................................ 3
The Caseload.................................................................................................................. 4
How Many Families Receive TANF- or MOE-Funded Benefits and Services? .................... 4
How Many Families and People Currently Receive TANF- or MOE-Funded

Assistance? ............................................................................................................ 4
How Does the Current Assistance Caseload Level Compare with Historical Levels? ............ 5
What Are the Characteristics of Families Receiving TANF Assistance?.............................. 6
TANF Cash Benefits: How Much Does a Family Receive in TANF Cash Per Month?................ 7
TANF Work Participation Standards .................................................................................. 8
What Is the TANF Work Participation Standard States Must Meet? ................................... 8
Have There Been Changes in the Work Participation Rules Enacted Since the 1996
Welfare Reform Law?.............................................................................................. 9
What Work Participation Rates Have the States Achieved?............................................... 9
How Many Jurisdictions Did Not Meet TANF Work Standards in FY2019?...................... 10
How Might the COVID-19 Pandemic Affect the Ability of States to Meet TANF
Work Standards? ................................................................................................... 11

Figures
Figure 1. Uses of TANF Funds by Spending Category, FY2019.............................................. 3
Figure 2. Number of Families Receiving Assistance, July 1959 to June 2020............................ 5
Figure 3. Composition of the AFDC/TANF Assistance Caseload by Family Type:
Selected Year FY1988 to FY2019 ................................................................................... 7
Figure 4. TANF Cash Assistance Maximum Monthly Benefit Amounts for a Single-
Parent Family with Two Children, 50 States and the District of Columbia, July 2018 .............. 8
Figure 5. National Average TANF Work Participation Rate for Al Families, FY2002-
FY2019 .................................................................................................................... 10

Tables
Table 1. TANF Basic Block Grant Funding in Nominal and Constant Dollars ........................... 2
Table 2. The TANF Assistance Caseload, June 2020 ............................................................. 4

Table A-1. Trends in the Cash Assistance Caseload: 1961-2019 ............................................ 12
Table A-2. Families Receiving AFDC/TANF Assistance by Family Category, Selected
Years, FY1988-FY2019............................................................................................... 14
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Table B-1. Use of FY2019 TANF and MOE Funds by Category ........................................... 15
Table B-2. Uses of FY2018 TANF and MOE Funds by Category as a Percentage of Total
Federal TANF and State MOE Spending ........................................................................ 18
Table B-3. Unspent TANF Funds at the End of FY2019 ...................................................... 21
Table B-4. Number of Families, Recipients, Children, and Adults Receiving TANF
Assistance by Jurisdiction, June 2020 ............................................................................ 22
Table B-5. Number of Needy Families with Children Receiving Assistance
by Jurisdiction, June of Selected Years........................................................................... 24
Table B-6. TANF Assistance Families by Number of Parents by Jurisdiction: June 2020 .......... 26
Table B-7. TANF Work Participation Standard and Rate, By Jurisdiction,
for All Families: FY2019............................................................................................. 28
Table B-8. TANF Work Participation Standard and Rate, By Jurisdiction, for Two-Parent
Families: FY2019....................................................................................................... 29

Appendixes
Appendix A. Supplementary Tables ................................................................................. 12
Appendix B. State Tables ............................................................................................... 15

Contacts
Author Information ....................................................................................................... 31


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Introduction
This report provides responses to frequently asked questions about the Temporary Assistance for
Needy Families (TANF) block grant. It is intended to serve as a quick reference to provide easy
access to information and data. Appendix A provides additional data on families receiving TANF
assistance over time. Appendix B presents a series of tables with state-level data on TANF
expenditures and families receiving assistance.
This report does not provide information on TANF program rules (for a discussion of TANF
rules, see CRS Report RL32748, The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block
Grant: A Primer on TANF Financing and Federal Requirements, by Gene Falk).
Funding and Expenditures
What Is TANF’s Funding Status?
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (P.L. 116-260 ) extends TANF funding through the
end of FY2021 (September 30, 2021).
How Are State TANF Programs Funded?
TANF programs are funded through a combination of federal and state funds. In FY2018, TANF
has two federal grants to states. The bulk of the TANF funding is in a basic block grant to the
states, totaling $16.5 bil ion for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the
Virgin Islands, and American Indian tribes. There is also a contingency fund available that
provides extra federal funds to states that meet certain conditions.
Additional y, states are required to expend a minimum amount of their own funds for TANF and
TANF-related activities under what is known as the maintenance of effort (MOE) requirement.
States are required to spend at least 75% of what they spent in FY1994 on TANF’s predecessor
programs. The minimum MOE amount, in total, is $10.3 bil ion per year for the 50 states, the
District of Columbia, and the territories.
How Much Has the Value of the TANF Basic Block Grant Changed
Over Time?
TANF was created by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of
1996 (PRWORA, P.L. 104-193). A TANF basic block grant amount—both national y and for each
state—was established in the 1996 law. That amount for the 50 states, District of Columbia,
territories, and tribes was $16.6 bil ion in total. From FY1997 through FY2016, that amount
remained the same. The basic block grant was not adjusted for changes that occur over time, such
as inflation, the size of the TANF assistance caseload, or changes in the poverty population.
During this period, the real (inflation-adjusted) value of the block grant declined by one-third
(33.1%). Beginning with FY2017, the state family assistance grant was reduced by 0.33% from
its historical levels to finance TANF-related research and technical assistance. The reduced block
grant amount is $16.5 bil ion.
Table 1 shows the state family assistance grant, in both nominal (actual) and real (inflation-
adjusted) dollars for each year, FY1997 through FY2020. In real (inflation-adjusted) terms, the
FY2020 block grant was 38% below its value in FY1997.
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Table 1. TANF Basic Block Grant Funding in Nominal and Constant Dollars
(In Bil ions of $)
State Family
State
Assistance
Family
Grant: 50
Assistance
States, DC,
Grant
Cumulative
Tribes, and
Constant
Percentage
Fiscal Year
Territories
1997 dollars
Change

1997
$16.567
$16.567
1998
16.567
16.306
-1.6%
1999
16.567
15.991
-3.5
2000
16.567
15.498
-6.5
2001
16.567
15.020
-9.3
2002
16.567
14.792
-10.7
2003
16.567
14.456
-12.7
2004
16.567
14.124
-14.7
2005
16.567
13.680
-17.4
2006
16.567
13.190
-20.4
2007
16.567
12.893
-22.2
2008
16.567
12.345
-25.5
2009
16.567
12.382
-25.3
2010
16.567
12.182
-26.5
2011
16.567
11.859
-28.4
2012
16.567
11.585
-30.1
2013
16.567
11.394
-31.2
2014
16.567
11.217
-32.3
2015
16.567
11.179
-32.5
2016
16.567
11.082
-33.1
2017
16.512
10.820
-34.7
2018
16.512
10.564
-36.2
2019
16.512
10.372
-37.4
2020
16.512
10.224
-38.3
Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS), based on data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS), and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Notes: Constant dol ars were computed using the Consumer Price Index for al Urban Consumers (CPI-U).
How Have States Used TANF Funds?
In FY2019, a total of $30.9 bil ion of both federal TANF and state MOE expenditures were either
expended or transferred to other block grant programs. Basic assistance—ongoing benefits to
families to meet basic needs—represented 21% ($6.5 bil ion) of total FY2019 TANF and MOE
dollars.
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TANF is a major contributor of child care funding. In FY2019, $5.0 bil ion (16% of al TANF and
MOE funds) were either expended on child care or transferred to the child care block grant (the
Child Care and Development Fund, or CCDF). TANF work-related activities (including education
and training) were the third-largest TANF and MOE spending category at $3.2 bil ion, or 10% of
total TANF and MOE funds. TANF also helps low-wage parents by helping to finance state
refundable tax credits, such as state add-ons to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). TANF and
MOE expenditures on refundable tax credits in FY2019 totaled $2.8 bil ion, or 9% of total TANF
and MOE spending.
TANF and MOE funds also help fund state prekindergarten (pre-K) programs, with total FY2019
expenditures for that category at $2.6 bil ion. TANF is also a major contributor to the child
welfare system, which provides foster care, adoption assistance, and services to families with
children who either have experienced or are at risk of experiencing child abuse or neglect,
spending about $2.6 bil ion on such activities. TANF and MOE funds are also used for short-term
and emergency benefits and a wide range of other social services. Figure 1 shows the uses of
federal TANF grants to states and state MOE funds in FY2019.
Figure 1. Uses of TANF Funds by Spending Category, FY2019
(Dol ars in Bil ions)

Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS), based on data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS).
Notes: Detail may not add to totals because of rounding. Excludes TANF funds used in the territories and in
tribal TANF programs.
For state-specific information on the use of TANF funds, see Table B-1 and Table B-2.
How Much of the TANF Grant Has Gone Unspent?
TANF law permits states to “reserve” unused funds without time limit. This permits flexibility in
timing of the use of TANF funds, including the ability to “save” funds for unexpected
occurrences that might increase costs (such as recessions or natural disasters).
At the end of FY2019 (September 30, 2019, the most recent data currently available), a total of
$5.8 bil ion of federal TANF funding remained neither transferred nor spent. However, some of
these unspent funds represent monies that states had already committed to spend later. At the end
of FY2019, states had made such commitments to spend—that is, had obligated—a total of $1.4
bil ion. At the end of FY2019, states had $4.5 bil ion of “unobligated balances.” These funds are
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available to states to make new spending commitments. Table B-3 shows unspent TANF funds
by state.
The Caseload
How Many Families Receive TANF- or MOE-Funded Benefits and
Services?
This number is not known. Federal TANF reporting requirements focus on families receiving
only ongoing assistance. There is no complete reporting on families receiving other TANF
benefits and services.
“Assistance” is defined as benefits provided to families to meet ongoing, basic needs.1 It is most
often paid in cash. However, some states use TANF or MOE funds to provide an “earnings
supplement” to working parents added to monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
(SNAP) al otments. These earnings supplements are paid separately from the regular TANF cash
assistance program. Additional y, TANF MOE dollars are used to fund food assistance for
immigrants barred from regular SNAP benefits in certain states. These forms of nutrition aid meet
an ongoing need, and thus are considered TANF assistance.
As discussed in a previous section of this report, TANF basic assistance accounts for about 21%
of al TANF expenditures. Therefore, the federal reporting requirements that pertain to families
receiving assistance are likely to undercount the number of families receiving any TANF-funded
benefit or service.
How Many Families and People Currently Receive TANF- or MOE-
Funded Assistance?
Table 2
provides assistance caseload information. A total of 1.1 mil ion families, composed of 2.9
mil ion recipients, received TANF- or MOE-funded assistance in June 2020. The bulk of the
“recipients” were children—2.1 mil ion in that month. For state-by-state assistance caseloads, see
Table B-4.
Table 2. The TANF Assistance Caseload, June 2020
Families
1,120,319
Recipients
2,930,544
Adults
2,132,800
Children
797,744
Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS), based on data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS).
Notes: TANF assistance caseload data exclude South Dakota. Data for South Dakota were not reported. TANF
assistance caseload includes families receiving assistance in state-funded programs counted toward the TANF
maintenance of effort (MOE) requirement.

1 T he definition of T ANF assistance is not in statute. However, because the statutory language has most T ANF
requirements triggered by a family receiving “assistance,” the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
regulations define assistance at 45 C.F.R. §260.31.
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How Does the Current Assistance Caseload Level Compare with
Historical Levels?
Figure 2
provides a long-term historical perspective on the number of families receiving
assistance from TANF or its predecessor program, from July 1959 to June 2020. The shaded areas
of the figure represent months when the national economy was in recession. Though the health of
the national economy has affected the trend in the cash assistance caseload, the long-term trend in
receipt of cash assistance does not follow a classic countercyclical pattern. Such a pattern would
have the caseload rise during economic slumps, and then fal again during periods of economic
growth. Factors other than the health of the economy (demographic trends, policy changes) also
have influenced the caseload trend.
The figure shows two periods of sustained caseload increases: the period from the mid-1960s to
the mid-1970s and a second period from 1988 to 1994. The number of families receiving
assistance peaked in March 1994 at 5.1 mil ion families. The assistance caseload fel rapidly in
the late 1990s, after PRWORA, before leveling off in 2001. In 2004, the caseload began another
decline, albeit at a slower pace than in the late 1990s. During the 2007-2009 recession and its
aftermath, the caseload began to rise from 1.7 mil ion families in August 2008, peaking in
December 2010 at close to 2.0 mil ion families. The number of families receiving assistance
declined by almost half (to a little over 1 mil ion families) during the long economic expansion of
2010 through 2019.
In June 2020, the number of families receiving assistance was reported at 1.1 mil ion families,
about 4% up from its level in December 2019.
Figure 2. Number of Families Receiving Assistance, July 1959 to June 2020

Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS), with data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS).
Notes: Shaded areas denote months when the national economy was in recession. Information represents
families receiving cash assistance from Aid to Dependent Children (ADC), Aid to Families with Dependent
Children (AFDC), and TANF. For October 1999 through September 2019, includes families receiving assistance
from Separate State Programs (SSPs) with expenditures countable toward the TANF maintenance of effort
requirement. See Table A-1 for average annual data on families, recipients, adult recipients, and child recipients
of ADC, AFDC, and TANF cash assistance for 1961 to 2019. Note that data for Jan uary-March 2020 exclude
Virginia; data for April-June 2020 exclude South Dakota.
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Table B-5 shows recent trends in the number of cash assistance families by state.
What Are the Characteristics of Families Receiving TANF
Assistance?
Before PRWORA, the “typical” family receiving assistance had been headed by a single parent
(usual y the mother) with one or two children. That single parent had also typical y been
unemployed. However, since 1996, the assistance caseload decline has occurred together with a
major shift in the composition of the rolls.
Figure 3 shows the change in the size and composition of the assistance caseload under both
AFDC (1988 and 1994) and TANF. In FY1988, an estimated 84% of AFDC families were headed
by an unemployed adult recipient. In FY2019, families with an unemployed adult recipient
represented 32% of al cash assistance families. This decline occurred, in large part, as the
number of families headed by unemployed adult recipients declined more rapidly than other
components of the assistance caseload. In FY1994, a monthly average of 3.8 mil ion families per
month who received AFDC cash assistance had adult recipients who were not working. In
FY2019, a monthly average of 359,000 families per month had adult recipients or work-eligible
individuals, with no adult recipient or work-eligible individual working.
With the decline in families headed by unemployed adults, the share of the caseload represented
by families with employed adults and “child-only” families has increased. The first category
includes families in “earnings supplement” programs separate from the regular TANF cash
assistance program. In FY2019, families with an employed adult comprised 26% of al TANF
families.
Child-only TANF families are those where no adult recipient receives benefits in their own right;
the family receives benefits on behalf of its children. The share of the caseload that was child-
only in FY2019 was 42%. In FY2019, families with a nonrecipient, nonparent relative
(grandparents, aunts, uncles) represented 17% of al assistance families. Families with ineligible,
noncitizen adults or adults who have not reported their citizenship status made up 10% of the
assistance caseload in that year. Families where the parent received Supplemental Security
Income (SSI) and the children received TANF made up 9% of al assistance families in FY2019.
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Figure 3. Composition of the AFDC/TANF Assistance Caseload by Family Type:
Selected Year FY1988 to FY2019

Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS) tabulations of the TANF national data files.
Notes: TANF assistance caseload includes families receiving assistance in state-funded programs counted
toward the TANF maintenance of effort (MOE) requirement.
TANF Cash Benefits: How Much Does a Family
Receive in TANF Cash Per Month?
There are no federal rules that help determine the amount of TANF cash benefits paid to a family.
(There are also no federal rules that require states to use TANF to pay cash benefits, though al
states do so.) Benefit amounts are determined solely by the states.
Most states base TANF cash benefit amounts on family size, paying larger cash benefits to larger
families on the presumption that they have greater financial needs. The maximum monthly cash
benefit is usual y paid to a family that receives no other income (e.g., no earned or unearned
income) and complies with program rules. Families with income other than TANF often are paid
a reduced benefit. Moreover, some families are financial y sanctioned for not meeting a program
requirement (e.g., a work requirement), and are also paid a lower benefit.
Figure 4 shows the maximum monthly TANF cash benefit by state for a single parent caring for
two children (family of three) in July 2018.2 The benefit amounts shown are those for a single-
parent family with two children.3 For a family of three, the maximum TANF benefit paid in July

2 States are not required to report to the federal government their cash assistance benefit amounts in either the T ANF
state plan (under Section 402 of the Social Security Act) or in annual program reports (under Section 411 of the Social
Security Act). T he benefit amounts shown are from the “Welfare Rules Database,” maintained by the Urban Institute
and funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
3 Some states vary their benefit amounts for other family types such as two -parent families or “child-only” cases. States
also vary their benefits by other factors such as housing costs and substate geography.
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2018 varied from $170 per month in Mississippi to $1,039 per month in New Hampshire. The
map shows a regional pattern to the maximum monthly benefit paid, with lower benefit amounts
in the South than in other regions. Only New Hampshire (at 60% of the federal poverty
guidelines) had a maximum TANF cash assistance amount for this sized family in excess of 50%
of poverty-level income.4
Figure 4. TANF Cash Assistance Maximum Monthly Benefit Amounts for a Single-
Parent Family with Two Children, 50 States and the District of Columbia, July 2018

Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS), based on data from the Urban Institute’s Welfare Rules
Database
. The welfare rules database has information for the 50 states and District of Columbia. It does not have
information on TANF assistance programs in Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands or tribal TANF
programs.
TANF Work Participation Standards
TANF’s main federal work requirement is actual y a performance measure that applies to the
states, rather than individual recipients. States determine the work rules that apply to individual
recipients.
What Is the TANF Work Participation Standard States Must Meet?
The TANF statute requires states to have 50% of their caseload meet standards of participation in
work or activities—that is, a family member must be in specified activities for a minimum
number of hours.5 There is a separate participation standard that applies to the two-parent portion

4 In 2018, the HHS poverty guidelines for the contiguous 48 states and the District of Columbia for a family of three
was $1,732 per month. Higher poverty lines applied in Alaska ($2,165 p er month for a family of three) and Hawaii
($1,992 per month for a family of three).
5 Families without a work-eligible individual are excluded from the participation rate calculation. It excludes families
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of a state’s caseload, requiring 90% of the state’s two-parent caseload to meet participation
standards.
However, the statutory work participation standards are reduced by a “caseload reduction credit.”
The caseload reduction credit reduces the participation standard one percentage point for each
percentage point decline in a state’s caseload. Additional y, under a regulatory provision, a state
may get “extra” credit for caseload reduction if it spends more than required under the TANF
MOE. Therefore, the effective standards states face are often less than the 50% and 90% targets,
and vary by state and by year.
States that do not meet the TANF work participation standard are at risk of being penalized
through a reduction in their block grant. However, penalties can be forgiven if a state claims, and
the Secretary of HHS finds, that it had “reasonable cause” for not meeting the standard. Penalties
can also be forgiven for states that enter into “corrective compliance plans,” and subsequently
meet the work standard.
Have There Been Changes in the Work Participation Rules Enacted
Since the 1996 Welfare Reform Law?
The 50% and 90% target standards that states face, as wel as the caseload reduction credit, date
back to the 1996 welfare reform law. However, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA, P.L.
109-171) made several changes to the work participation rules effective in FY2007.
 The caseload reduction credit was changed to measure caseload reduction from
FY2005, rather than the original law’s FY1995.
 The work participation standards were broadened to include families receiving
cash aid in “separate state programs.” Separate state programs are programs run
with state funds, distinct from a state’s “TANF program,” but with expenditures
countable toward the TANF MOE.
 HHS was instructed to provide definition to the al owable TANF work activities
listed in law. HHS was also required to define what is meant by a “work-eligible”
individual, expanding the number of families that are included in the work
participation calculation.
 States were required to develop plans and procedures to verify work activities.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, P.L. 111-5), a law enacted in
response to the sharp economic downturn of 2007-2009, held states “harmless” for caseload
increases affecting the work participation standards for FY2009 through FY2011. It did so by
al owing states to “freeze” caseload reduction credits at pre-recession levels through the FY2011
standards.
What Work Participation Rates Have the States Achieved?
HHS computes two work participation rates for each state that are then compared with the
effective (after-credit) standard to determine if it has met the TANF work standard. An “al -
families” work participation rate is computed and compared with the al -families effective
standard (50% minus the state’s caseload reduction credit). HHS also computes a two-parent

where the parent is a nonrecipient (for example, disabled receiving Supplemental Security Income or an ineligible
noncitizen) or the children in the family are being cared for by a nonparent relative (e.g., grandparent, aunt, uncle) who
does not receive assistance on his or her behalf.
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link to page 14 link to page 32 link to page 33
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: FAQs

work participation rate that is compared with the two-parent effective standard (90% minus the
state’s caseload reduction credit).
Figure 5 shows the national average al -families work participation rate for FY2002 through
FY2019. For the period FY2002 through FY2011, states achieved an average al -families work
participation rate hovering around 30%. The work participation rate increased since then. In
FY2016, it exceeded 50% for the first time since TANF was established. However, it is important
to note that the increase in the work participation rate has not come from an increase in the
number of recipients in regular TANF assistance programs who are either working or in job
preparation activities. This increase stems mostly from states creating new “earnings supplement”
programs that use TANF funds to aid working parents in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) or who have left the regular TANF assistance programs
for work.6
Figure 5. National Average TANF Work Participation Rate for All Families, FY2002-
FY2019

Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS), based on data from the Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS).
How Many Jurisdictions Did Not Meet TANF Work Standards in
FY2019?
In FY2019, Montana was the only jurisdiction that did not meet its TANF work participation
standard for al families. Montana also did not meet its standard in FY2018. In terms of the higher
two-parent standard, five jurisdictions did not meet it for FY2019: California, Montana, Nevada,
Rhode Island, and Wyoming. Table B-7 provides information for each jurisdiction on the TANF
work standard, caseload reduction credit, and work participation rate for al families for FY2019.
Table B-8 provides that information for two-parent families.

6 See CRS In Focus IF10856, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: Work Requirements.
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The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: FAQs

How Might the COVID-19 Pandemic Affect the Ability of States to
Meet TANF Work Standards?
The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to affect states’ ability to meet their work participation
standards. Employment losses, disruptions in education, and the inability of states to engage
recipients in group activities (e.g., job clubs) could al result in lower participation in work or job
preparation activities. Additional y, if the economic dislocation results in higher assistance
caseloads, a state’s caseload reduction credit would be reduced, resulting in a higher effective
(after-credit) participation standard for the state to meet.
The rules governing the TANF work participation standards cannot be waived, other than through
new legislation. However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has the
ability to reduce or waive the penalty on states for failing to meet the TANF work participation
standard. HHS has said that it would exercise its authority to provide states with relief from the
penalty for not meeting participation standards “to the maximum extent possible.”7




7 U.S. Department of Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance,
Questions and answers about TANF and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandem ic, T ANF-ACF-Pi-2020-
01, https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ofa/resource/tanf-acf-pi-2020-01.
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The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: FAQs

Appendix A. Supplementary Tables
Table A-1. Trends in the Cash Assistance Caseload: 1961-2019





TANF Child Recipients
As a
As a
Percentage
Percentage
Families
Recipients
Adults
Children
of All
of All Poor
Year
(millions)
(millions)
(millions)
(millions)
Children
Children
1961
0.873
3.363
0.765
2.598
3.7%
14.3%
1962
0.939
3.704
0.860
2.844
4.0
15.7
1963
0.963
3.945
0.988
2.957
4.1
17.4
1964
1.010
4.195
1.050
3.145
4.3
18.6
1965
1.060
4.422
1.101
3.321
4.5
21.5
1966
1.096
4.546
1.112
3.434
4.7
26.5
1967
1.220
5.014
1.243
3.771
5.2
31.2
1968
1.410
5.702
1.429
4.274
5.9
37.8
1969
1.696
6.689
1.716
4.973
6.9
49.7
1970
2.207
8.462
2.250
6.212
8.6
57.7
1971
2.763
10.242
2.808
7.435
10.4
68.5
1972
3.048
10.944
3.039
7.905
11.1
74.9
1973
3.148
10.949
3.046
7.903
11.2
79.9
1974
3.219
10.847
3.041
7.805
11.2
75.0
1975
3.481
11.319
3.248
8.071
11.8
71.2
1976
3.565
11.284
3.302
7.982
11.8
76.2
1977
3.568
11.015
3.273
7.743
11.6
73.9
1978
3.517
10.551
3.188
7.363
11.2
72.8
1979
3.509
10.312
3.130
7.181
11.0
68.0
1980
3.712
10.774
3.355
7.419
11.5
63.2
1981
3.835
11.079
3.552
7.527
11.7
59.2
1982
3.542
10.358
3.455
6.903
10.8
49.6
1983
3.686
10.761
3.663
7.098
11.1
50.1
1984
3.714
10.831
3.687
7.144
11.2
52.3
1985
3.701
10.855
3.658
7.198
11.3
54.4
1986
3.763
11.038
3.704
7.334
11.5
56.0
1987
3.776
11.027
3.661
7.366
11.5
56.4
1988
3.749
10.915
3.586
7.329
11.4
57.8
1989
3.798
10.992
3.573
7.419
11.5
57.9
1990
4.057
11.695
3.784
7.911
12.1
57.9
1991
4.497
12.930
4.216
8.715
13.2
59.8
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The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: FAQs






TANF Child Recipients
As a
As a
Percentage
Percentage
Families
Recipients
Adults
Children
of All
of All Poor
Year
(millions)
(millions)
(millions)
(millions)
Children
Children
1992
4.829
13.773
4.470
9.303
13.9
59.9
1993
5.012
14.205
4.631
9.574
14.1
60.0
1994
5.033
14.161
4.593
9.568
13.9
61.7
1995
4.791
13.418
4.284
9.135
13.1
61.5
1996
4.434
12.321
3.928
8.600
12.3
58.7
1997
3.740
10.376
NA
NA
10.0
50.1
1998
3.050
8.347
NA
NA
8.1
42.9
1999
2.578
6.924
NA
NA
6.7
39.4
2000
2.303
6.143
1.655
4.479
6.1
38.1
2001
2.192
5.717
1.514
4.195
5.7
35.3
2002
2.187
5.609
1.479
4.119
5.6
33.6
2003
2.180
5.490
1.416
4.063
5.5
31.3
2004
2.153
5.342
1.362
3.969
5.4
30.2
2005
2.061
5.028
1.261
3.756
5.1
28.9
2006
1.906
4.582
1.120
3.453
4.6
26.7
2007
1.730
4.075
0.956
3.119
4.2
23.2
2008
1.701
4.005
0.946
3.059
4.1
21.6
2009
1.838
4.371
1.074
3.296
4.4
21.2
2010
1.919
4.598
1.163
3.435
4.6
20.9
2011
1.907
4.557
1.149
3.408
4.6
20.9
2012
1.852
4.402
1.104
3.298
4.4
20.3
2013
1.726
4.042
0.993
3.050
4.1
19.1
2014
1.650
3.957
1.007
2.950
4.0
18.9
2015
1.609
4.126
1.155
2.971
4.0
20.4
2016
1.479
3.780
1.037
2.743
3.7
20.7
2017
1.358
3.516
0.930
2.577
3.5
20.1
2018
1.196
3.150
0.833
2.317
3.2
19.5
2019
1.093
2.866
0.747
2.199
2.9
20.2
Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS), based on data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS) and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Notes: NA denotes not available. During transition reporting from AFDC to TANF, caseload statistics on adult
and child recipients were not col ected. For those years, TANF children as a percent of al children and percent
of al poor children were estimated by HHS and published in Welfare Indicators and Risk Factors, Annual Report to
Congress
, Table TANF 2, p. A-7. See http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/14/indicators/rpt_indicators.pdf. For 2019, the ratio
of TANF recipient children to al children in poverty might be overstated. This is because child poverty might
have been underestimated, as responses to the survey used to estimate poverty were affected by the COVID-19
Congressional Research Service

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The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: FAQs

pandemic. See Jonathan Rothbaum and Adam Bee, Coronavirus Infects Surveys, Too: Nonresponse Bias During the
Pandemic in the CPS ASEC
, U.S. Census Bureau, SEHSD Working Paper no. 2020-10, September 15, 2020.
Table A-2. Families Receiving AFDC/TANF Assistance by Family Category, Selected
Years, FY1988-FY2019

1988
1994
2010
2019
Adult Recipient or Work-Eligible Parent/Not Working
3,136,566
3,798,997
879,922
358,761
Adult Recipient or Work-Eligible Parent/Working
243,573
378,620
287,146
286,373
Child-Only/SSI Parent
59,988
171,391
181,852
104,397
Child-Only/Noncitizen Parent
47,566
184,397
217,487
108,249
Child-Only/Other Ineligible Parent
51,764
146,227
4,968
3,391
Child-Only/Caretaker Relative
188,598
328,290
254,088
190,494
Child-Only/Unknown
19,897
38,341
84,378
68,743
Totals
3,747,952
5,046,263
1,909,841
1,120,407





Adult Recipient or Work-Eligible Parent/Not Working
83.7%
75.3%
46.1%
32.0%
Adult Recipient or Work-Eligible Parent/Working
6.5
7.5
15.0
25.6
Child-Only/SSI Parent
1.6
3.4
9.5
9.3
Child-Only/Noncitizen Parent
1.3
3.7
11.4
9.7
Child-Only/Other Ineligible Parent
1.4
2.9
0.3
0.3
Child-Only/Caretaker Relative
5.0
6.5
13.3
17.0
Child-Only/Unknown
0.5
0.8
4.4
6.1





Totals
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS) tabulations of the FY1988 and FY1994 AFDC Quality Control
(QC) data files and the FY2010 and FY2019 TANF National Data Files.
Notes: FY2010 and FY2019 data include families receiving assistance from separate state programs (SSPs) with
expenditures countable toward the TANF maintenance of effort (MOE) requirement.

Congressional Research Service

14


Appendix B. State Tables
Table B-1. Use of FY2019 TANF and MOE Funds by Category
($ in Bil ions)
Emer-
gency
Work,
and
Other
Educa-
Refun-
Pre-
Short-
Benefits
Basic
Child
tion, and
dable Tax
K/Head
Child
Adminis-
Term
and
Total
State
Assistance
Care
Training
Credits
Start
Welfare
tration
Benefits
Services
Spending
Alabama
$17.263
$5.524
$7.500
$0.000
$22.005
$38.271
$12.855
$38.280
$35.228
$176.926
Alaska
37.176
14.782
10.152
0.000
0.000
0.000
6.239
0.367
16.192
84.908
Arizona
43.599
0.000
0.682
0.000
0.000
211.345
15.911
26.535
48.201
346.273
Arkansas
4.912
2.660
14.025
0.000
30.143
0.276
16.510
4.780
6.819
80.125
California
2,204.396
797.841
1,761.212
0.000
0.000
0.309
539.356
275.796
965.421
6,544.331
Colorado
75.424
12.422
11.619
76.440
59.323
50.090
18.451
18.121
60.979
382.870
Connecticut
41.886
41.485
11.267
59.300
82.701
70.619
38.627
20.945
134.497
501.326
Delaware
11.388
79.081
1.809
0.000
0.000
0.000
4.823
1.795
16.771
115.667
District of Columbia
164.956
59.117
34.563
23.681
0.000
0.000
9.725
69.144
7.068
368.253
Florida
145.677
290.578
46.106
0.000
0.000
250.139
88.941
0.950
81.598
903.989
Georgia
98.333
0.000
8.573
0.000
0.000
308.162
18.683
5.429
53.552
492.731
Hawai
30.805
11.972
41.870
0.000
0.000
1.736
14.491
8.146
96.396
205.415
Idaho
8.299
13.293
3.250
0.000
1.505
1.998
6.840
12.540
0.724
48.450
Il inois
43.335
495.256
16.342
90.136
108.715
239.682
0.028
0.651
93.317
1,087.462
Indiana
12.749
123.164
6.365
25.177
0.000
9.169
30.519
0.191
144.564
351.898
Iowa
29.339
55.616
9.463
24.902
0.000
53.820
6.171
0.392
20.871
200.575
Kansas
11.901
6.673
0.737
40.117
17.990
34.534
10.418
0.000
47.000
169.371
CRS-15


Emer-
gency
Work,
and
Other
Educa-
Refun-
Pre-
Short-
Benefits
Basic
Child
tion, and
dable Tax
K/Head
Child
Adminis-
Term
and
Total
State
Assistance
Care
Training
Credits
Start
Welfare
tration
Benefits
Services
Spending
Kentucky
186.166
30.490
27.922
0.000
0.000
0.000
11.424
0.000
12.509
268.512
Louisiana
17.404
10.742
34.530
11.836
40.644
19.780
16.939
7.851
26.938
186.664
Maine
32.738
28.664
9.533
7.900
0.595
10.688
5.033
5.760
30.163
131.075
Maryland
117.921
6.468
29.644
156.514
70.018
16.909
30.668
38.835
43.987
510.963
Massachusetts
220.293
334.776
177.164
171.271
0.000
4.819
37.826
104.098
78.236
1,128.483
Michigan
74.149
27.829
4.039
40.146
188.527
75.330
58.542
17.654
748.702
1,234.920
Minnesota
78.515
166.913
58.409
142.862
5.700
0.000
44.752
23.846
25.246
546.243
Mississippi
5.543
1.715
25.349
0.000
0.000
27.088
11.422
0.000
29.945
101.062
Missouri
31.318
31.460
64.115
0.000
0.000
106.116
9.959
67.182
51.512
361.662
Montana
19.597
9.277
3.036
0.000
0.000
3.964
5.456
2.147
9.832
53.310
Nebraska
24.037
23.059
9.248
32.813
0.000
4.901
3.934
0.127
0.809
98.928
Nevada
33.727
21.966
4.783
0.000
3.006
26.899
10.333
6.975
16.189
123.879
New Hampshire
34.054
12.282
7.535
0.000
0.000
5.918
11.244
8.286
17.508
96.826
New Jersey
69.186
163.904
69.698
373.073
559.777
0.000
48.640
14.785
64.225
1,363.288
New Mexico
47.430
32.976
17.272
45.478
47.614
0.317
4.760
9.473
26.815
232.134
New York
1,473.353
467.812
162.000
1,324.586
492.403
339.964
424.079
266.100
334.652
5,284.951
North Carolina
32.930
198.883
5.566
0.000
90.203
131.687
47.863
5.117
52.186
564.436
North Dakota
3.896
1.117
3.714
0.000
0.000
18.430
3.680
0.015
1.151
32.002
Ohio
239.856
410.532
78.974
0.000
0.000
20.101
112.034
57.001
234.621
1,153.119
Oklahoma
17.988
32.714
11.092
0.000
9.059
19.263
8.418
0.629
29.307
128.471
Oregon
84.649
11.951
19.574
3.381
11.924
13.786
24.708
29.005
38.863
237.841
CRS-16


Emer-
gency
Work,
and
Other
Educa-
Refun-
Pre-
Short-
Benefits
Basic
Child
tion, and
dable Tax
K/Head
Child
Adminis-
Term
and
Total
State
Assistance
Care
Training
Credits
Start
Welfare
tration
Benefits
Services
Spending
Pennsylvania
151.419
506.841
99.100
0.000
235.879
0.000
80.402
14.261
143.073
1,230.975
Rhode Island
23.911
45.352
12.079
22.715
0.000
33.194
5.022
27.702
12.662
182.638
South Carolina
52.507
4.085
9.840
0.000
27.193
6.693
21.205
0.000
43.959
165.482
South Dakota
13.246
0.803
3.261
0.000
0.000
3.125
1.823
2.264
2.847
27.369
Tennessee
57.657
0.000
19.316
0.000
82.092
0.000
26.804
0.000
2.427
188.297
Texas
39.782
0.000
83.597
0.000
349.682
324.487
118.891
5.686
70.626
992.751
Utah
22.529
22.922
19.109
0.000
10.122
1.567
7.981
1.835
18.884
104.949
Vermont
13.716
32.255
1.923
19.420
0.000
6.998
5.533
1.447
14.856
96.147
Virginia
62.525
38.527
37.792
0.524
4.009
55.156
49.769
4.556
34.619
287.476
Washington
141.868
144.488
99.704
0.000
50.235
4.152
87.620
63.991
416.008
1,008.066
West Virginia
25.140
10.021
0.344
0.000
0.000
31.140
12.543
14.229
23.623
117.041
Wisconsin
71.793
201.426
31.826
69.700
0.000
6.413
31.914
38.011
126.522
577.606
Wyoming
8.321
2.883
4.742
0.000
0.000
0.000
4.329
3.294
1.982
25.551
Totals
6,510.603
5,044.598
3,231.368
2,761.975 2,601.063 2,589.039
2,224.139
1,326.224 4,614.682 30,903.691
Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS), based on data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Notes: Excludes TANF funds used in the territories and in tribal TANF programs.
CRS-17


Table B-2. Uses of FY2018 TANF and MOE Funds by Category as a Percentage of Total Federal TANF and State MOE
Spending
Emer-
Work,
gency and
Other
Education,
Refund-
Pre-
Short-
Benefits
Basic
Child
and
able Tax
K/Head
Child
Adminis-
Term
and
Total
State
Assistance
Care
Training
Credits
Start
Welfare
tration
Benefits
Services
Spending
Alabama
9.8%
3.1%
4.2%
0.0%
12.4%
21.6%
7.3%
21.6%
19.9%
100.0%
Alaska
43.8
17.4
12.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
7.3
0.4
19.1
100.0
Arizona
12.6
0.0
0.2
0.0
0.0
61.0
4.6
7.7
13.9
100.0
Arkansas
6.1
3.3
17.5
0.0
37.6
0.3
20.6
6.0
8.5
100.0
California
33.7
12.2
26.9
0.0
0.0
0.0
8.2
4.2
14.8
100.0
Colorado
19.7
3.2
3.0
20.0
15.5
13.1
4.8
4.7
15.9
100.0
Connecticut
8.4
8.3
2.2
11.8
16.5
14.1
7.7
4.2
26.8
100.0
Delaware
9.8
68.4
1.6
0.0
0.0
0.0
4.2
1.6
14.5
100.0
District of Columbia
44.8
16.1
9.4
6.4
0.0
0.0
2.6
18.8
1.9
100.0
Florida
16.1
32.1
5.1
0.0
0.0
27.7
9.8
0.1
9.0
100.0
Georgia
20.0
0.0
1.7
0.0
0.0
62.5
3.8
1.1
10.9
100.0
Hawai
15.0
5.8
20.4
0.0
0.0
0.8
7.1
4.0
46.9
100.0
Idaho
17.1
27.4
6.7
0.0
3.1
4.1
14.1
25.9
1.5
100.0
Il inois
4.0
45.5
1.5
8.3
10.0
22.0
0.0
0.1
8.6
100.0
Indiana
3.6
35.0
1.8
7.2
0.0
2.6
8.7
0.1
41.1
100.0
Iowa
14.6
27.7
4.7
12.4
0.0
26.8
3.1
0.2
10.4
100.0
Kansas
7.0
3.9
0.4
23.7
10.6
20.4
6.2
0.0
27.7
100.0
Kentucky
69.3
11.4
10.4
0.0
0.0
0.0
4.3
0.0
4.7
100.0
Louisiana
9.3
5.8
18.5
6.3
21.8
10.6
9.1
4.2
14.4
100.0
CRS-18


Emer-
Work,
gency and
Other
Education,
Refund-
Pre-
Short-
Benefits
Basic
Child
and
able Tax
K/Head
Child
Adminis-
Term
and
Total
State
Assistance
Care
Training
Credits
Start
Welfare
tration
Benefits
Services
Spending
Maine
25.0
21.9
7.3
6.0
0.5
8.2
3.8
4.4
23.0
100.0
Maryland
23.1
1.3
5.8
30.6
13.7
3.3
6.0
7.6
8.6
100.0
Massachusetts
19.5
29.7
15.7
15.2
0.0
0.4
3.4
9.2
6.9
100.0
Michigan
6.0
2.3
0.3
3.3
15.3
6.1
4.7
1.4
60.6
100.0
Minnesota
14.4
30.6
10.7
26.2
1.0
0.0
8.2
4.4
4.6
100.0
Mississippi
5.5
1.7
25.1
0.0
0.0
26.8
11.3
0.0
29.6
100.0
Missouri
8.7
8.7
17.7
0.0
0.0
29.3
2.8
18.6
14.2
100.0
Montana
36.8
17.4
5.7
0.0
0.0
7.4
10.2
4.0
18.4
100.0
Nebraska
24.3
23.3
9.3
33.2
0.0
5.0
4.0
0.1
0.8
100.0
Nevada
27.2
17.7
3.9
0.0
2.4
21.7
8.3
5.6
13.1
100.0
New Hampshire
35.2
12.7
7.8
0.0
0.0
6.1
11.6
8.6
18.1
100.0
New Jersey
5.1
12.0
5.1
27.4
41.1
0.0
3.6
1.1
4.7
100.0
New Mexico
20.4
14.2
7.4
19.6
20.5
0.1
2.1
4.1
11.6
100.0
New York
27.9
8.9
3.1
25.1
9.3
6.4
8.0
5.0
6.3
100.0
North Carolina
5.8
35.2
1.0
0.0
16.0
23.3
8.5
0.9
9.2
100.0
North Dakota
12.2
3.5
11.6
0.0
0.0
57.6
11.5
0.0
3.6
100.0
Ohio
20.8
35.6
6.8
0.0
0.0
1.7
9.7
4.9
20.3
100.0
Oklahoma
14.0
25.5
8.6
0.0
7.1
15.0
6.6
0.5
22.8
100.0
Oregon
35.6
5.0
8.2
1.4
5.0
5.8
10.4
12.2
16.3
100.0
Pennsylvania
12.3
41.2
8.1
0.0
19.2
0.0
6.5
1.2
11.6
100.0
Rhode Island
13.1
24.8
6.6
12.4
0.0
18.2
2.7
15.2
6.9
100.0
CRS-19


Emer-
Work,
gency and
Other
Education,
Refund-
Pre-
Short-
Benefits
Basic
Child
and
able Tax
K/Head
Child
Adminis-
Term
and
Total
State
Assistance
Care
Training
Credits
Start
Welfare
tration
Benefits
Services
Spending
South Carolina
31.7
2.5
5.9
0.0
16.4
4.0
12.8
0.0
26.6
100.0
South Dakota
48.4
2.9
11.9
0.0
0.0
11.4
6.7
8.3
10.4
100.0
Tennessee
30.6
0.0
10.3
0.0
43.6
0.0
14.2
0.0
1.3
100.0
Texas
4.0
0.0
8.4
0.0
35.2
32.7
12.0
0.6
7.1
100.0
Utah
21.5
21.8
18.2
0.0
9.6
1.5
7.6
1.7
18.0
100.0
Vermont
14.3
33.5
2.0
20.2
0.0
7.3
5.8
1.5
15.5
100.0
Virginia
21.7
13.4
13.1
0.2
1.4
19.2
17.3
1.6
12.0
100.0
Washington
14.1
14.3
9.9
0.0
5.0
0.4
8.7
6.3
41.3
100.0
West Virginia
21.5
8.6
0.3
0.0
0.0
26.6
10.7
12.2
20.2
100.0
Wisconsin
12.4
34.9
5.5
12.1
0.0
1.1
5.5
6.6
21.9
100.0
Wyoming
32.6
11.3
18.6
0.0
0.0
0.0
16.9
12.9
7.8
100.0
Totals
21.1
16.3
10.5
8.9
8.4
8.4
7.2
4.3
14.9
100.0
Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS), based on data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Notes: Excludes TANF funds used in the territories and in tribal TANF programs.

CRS-20

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: FAQs

Table B-3. Unspent TANF Funds at the End of FY2019
(September 30, 2019; $ in Mil ions)
Unliquidated
State
Obligations
Unobligated Balance
Alabama
$50.8
$59.6
Alaska
1.9
30.5
Arizona
0.0
41.8
Arkansas
40.9
49.2
California
259.3
0.0
Colorado
0.0
103.1
Connecticut
0.0
0.0
Delaware
3.1
29.7
District of Columbia
0.0
31.1
Florida
64.5
0.0
Georgia
39.7
48.1
Hawai
23.7
328.1
Idaho
0.0
8.7
Il inois
0.0
0.0
Indiana
5.0
32.4
Iowa
0.0
0.9
Kansas
3.3
69.4
Kentucky
0.0
48.7
Louisiana
45.5
4.0
Maine
25.5
102.9
Maryland
0.0
29.5
Massachusetts
0.0
0.0
Michigan
0.0
99.2
Minnesota
0.0
64.4
Mississippi
0.0
15.7
Missouri
0.0
0.0
Montana
0.0
14.4
Nebraska
0.0
79.4
Nevada
0.0
28.9
New Hampshire
0.0
35.9
New Jersey
54.8
6.3
New Mexico
0.0
94.1
New York
17.4
649.1
North Carolina
64.6
0.0
Congressional Research Service

21

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: FAQs

Unliquidated
State
Obligations
Unobligated Balance
North Dakota
0.0
5.3
Ohio
582.4
0.0
Oklahoma
0.8
212.6
Oregon
0.0
33.5
Pennsylvania
93.2
403.3
Rhode Island
0.0
12.6
South Carolina
0.0
0.0
South Dakota
0.0
22.0
Tennessee
0.0
731.9
Texas
0.0
330.3
Utah
0.0
55.9
Vermont
0.0
0.0
Virginia
6.7
133.6
Washington
0.0
111.9
West Virginia
0.0
101.8
Wisconsin
0.0
186.5
Wyoming
0.0
28.6



Totals
1,383.0
4,475.2
Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS), based on data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS).
Notes: Excludes TANF funds used in the territories and in tribal TANF programs.
Table B-4. Number of Families, Recipients, Children, and Adults Receiving TANF
Assistance by Jurisdiction, June 2020
State
Families
Recipients
Children
Adults
Alabama
7,040
15,951
13,138
2,813
Alaska
2,359
6,438
4,362
2,076
Arizona
8,796
18,873
14,834
4,039
Arkansas
2,333
5,352
3,958
1,394
California
367,465
1,169,991
825,136
344,855
Colorado
14,320
35,177
25,584
9,593
Connecticut
7,421
15,603
11,282
4,321
Delaware
2,759
7,634
4,469
3,165
District of Columbia
9,145
26,560
19,055
7,505
Florida
46,369
84,876
66,261
18,615
Georgia
8,301
15,001
14,127
874
Congressional Research Service

22

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: FAQs

State
Families
Recipients
Children
Adults
Guam
490
1,157
908
249
Hawai
6,110
18,240
11,862
6,378
Idaho
1,927
2,781
2,693
88
Il inois
10,609
20,945
19,004
1,941
Indiana
7,843
18,097
14,395
3,702
Iowa
8,031
19,086
14,688
4,398
Kansas
4,543
4,543
2,065
2,478
Kentucky
16,047
32,025
28,232
3,793
Louisiana
4,116
8,250
6,917
1,333
Maine
13,614
45,324
28,261
17,063
Maryland
27,705
70,483
48,793
21,690
Massachusetts
46,788
122,865
87,074
35,791
Michigan
19,518
49,836
36,241
13,595
Minnesota
15,243
35,463
27,618
7,845
Mississippi
2,439
4,334
3,748
586
Missouri
10,022
23,570
17,701
5,869
Montana
2,799
6,676
5,256
1,420
Nebraska
5,215
12,985
10,512
2,473
Nevada
8,198
21,681
15,850
5,831
New Hampshire
4,856
11,358
8,383
2,975
New Jersey
10,211
24,645
18,136
6,509
New Mexico
11,493
29,158
21,236
7,922
New York
120,192
309,525
212,013
97,512
North Carolina
13,702
24,439
21,829
2,610
North Dakota
998
2,531
2,039
492
Ohio
55,558
105,398
91,577
13,821
Oklahoma
5,738
13,100
11,137
1,963
Oregon
31,807
90,960
60,140
30,820
Pennsylvania
35,233
85,297
64,322
20,975
Puerto Rico
4,155
11,320
6,945
4,375
Rhode Island
3,438
8,425
6,180
2,245
South Carolina
7,776
17,237
14,422
2,815
South Dakota
NA
NA
NA
NA
Tennessee
16,448
34,286
28,113
6,173
Texas
21,306
47,069
39,417
7,652
Utah
2,872
6,382
4,733
1,649
Congressional Research Service

23

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: FAQs

State
Families
Recipients
Children
Adults
Vermont
2,100
4,386
3,320
1,066
Virgin Islands
73
242
168
74
Virginia
19,836
35,796
27,744
8,052
Washington
43,065
102,292
68,106
34,186
West Virginia
5,848
11,291
9,576
1,715
Wisconsin
15,544
34,448
28,350
6,098
Wyoming
505
1,162
890
272





Totals
1,120,319
2,930,544
2,132,800
797,744
Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS), based on data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS).
Notes: NA denotes not available. June 2020 data for South Dakota were not reported. TANF cash assistance
caseload includes families receiving assistance in state-funded programs counted toward the TANF maintenance
of effort (MOE) requirement.
Table B-5. Number of Needy Families with Children Receiving Assistance
by Jurisdiction, June of Selected Years
Percentage Change to





2020 from …
State
1994
2010
2019
2020
1994
2019
Alabama
49,482
21,288
7,146
7,040
-85.8%
-1.5%
Alaska
12,977
3,475
2,441
2,359
-81.8
-3.4
Arizona
71,530
31,919
6,839
8,796
-87.7
28.6
Arkansas
25,892
8,268
2,333
2,333
-91.0
0.0
California
919,535
578,950
371,318
367,465
-60.0
-1.0
Colorado
41,378
11,675
14,072
14,320
-65.4
1.8
Connecticut
59,701
16,957
7,807
7,421
-87.6
-4.9
Delaware
11,239
5,322
3,366
2,759
-75.5
-18.0
District of
27,443
7,373
7,345
9,145
-66.7
24.5
Columbia
Florida
239,232
56,706
38,894
46,369
-80.6
19.2
Georgia
139,566
20,134
9,069
8,301
-94.1
-8.5
Guam
1,973
1,296
445
490
-75.2
10.1
Hawai
20,844
9,663
4,077
6,110
-70.7
49.9
Idaho
8,739
1,744
2,006
1,927
-77.9
-3.9
Il inois
242,740
22,087
10,640
10,609
-95.6
-0.3
Indiana
72,881
34,409
5,238
7,843
-89.2
49.7
Iowa
39,813
21,345
8,793
8,031
-79.8
-8.7
Kansas
30,020
14,183
3,745
4,543
-84.9
21.3
Congressional Research Service

24

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: FAQs

Percentage Change to





2020 from …
State
1994
2010
2019
2020
1994
2019
Kentucky
79,225
30,130
16,922
16,047
-79.7
-5.2
Louisiana
85,741
10,256
4,498
4,116
-95.2
-8.5
Maine
22,641
14,675
16,329
13,614
-39.9
-16.6
Maryland
79,706
24,153
16,051
27,705
-65.2
72.6
Massachusetts
110,108
48,975
49,107
46,788
-57.5
-4.7
Michigan
222,472
66,433
10,816
19,518
-91.2
80.5
Minnesota
63,043
24,146
15,731
15,243
-75.8
-3.1
Mississippi
55,183
11,931
3,262
2,439
-95.6
-25.2
Missouri
92,265
38,308
9,562
10,022
-89.1
4.8
Montana
12,004
3,665
3,258
2,799
-76.7
-14.1
Nebraska
15,649
8,486
4,290
5,215
-66.7
21.6
Nevada
14,207
10,499
8,018
8,198
-42.3
2.2
New Hampshire
11,591
6,202
5,221
4,856
-58.1
-7.0
New Jersey
122,536
33,540
8,814
10,211
-91.7
15.8
New Mexico
33,732
19,737
9,567
11,493
-65.9
20.1
New York
460,590
155,302
115,700
120,192
-73.9
3.9
North Carolina
131,065
23,384
13,305
13,702
-89.5
3.0
North Dakota
5,725
1,958
913
998
-82.6
9.3
Ohio
247,886
103,198
50,116
55,558
-77.6
10.9
Oklahoma
46,864
9,021
5,907
5,738
-87.8
-2.9
Oregon
41,982
30,811
37,609
31,807
-24.2
-15.4
Pennsylvania
211,431
51,683
40,140
35,233
-83.3
-12.2
Puerto Rico
58,484
13,257
4,558
4,155
-92.9
-8.8
Rhode Island
22,737
7,404
3,894
3,438
-84.9
-11.7
South Carolina
51,590
17,843
7,950
7,776
-84.9
-2.2
South Dakota
6,868
3,247
2,867
NA
NA
NA
Tennessee
109,339
61,851
19,030
16,448
-85.0
-13.6
Texas
282,902
50,171
22,037
21,306
-92.5
-3.3
Utah
17,536
6,641
3,224
2,872
-83.6
-10.9
Vermont
10,006
3,131
2,713
2,100
-79.0
-22.6
Virgin Islands
1,106
513
108
73
-93.4
-32.4
Virginia
75,020
37,276
16,698
19,836
-73.6
18.8
Washington
104,243
70,099
36,206
43,065
-58.7
18.9
West Virginia
40,379
9,619
6,269
5,848
-85.5
-6.7
Wisconsin
76,458
23,435
15,127
15,544
-79.7
2.8
Congressional Research Service

25

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: FAQs

Percentage Change to





2020 from …
State
1994
2010
2019
2020
1994
2019
Wyoming
5,751
337
515
505
-91.2
-1.9







Totals
5,043,050
1,898,111
1,091,906
1,120,319
-77.8
2.9
Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS), based on data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS).
Notes: NA denotes not available. June 2020 data for South Dakota were not reported. Percentage changes
from 1994 and 2019 also exclude data from South Dakota for those years. TANF cash assistance caseload
includes families receiving assistance in state-funded programs counted toward the TANF maintenance of effort
(MOE) requirement.
Table B-6. TANF Assistance Families by Number of Parents by Jurisdiction: June 2020
Single
Two
No
Total
Single
Two
No
State
Parent
Parent
Parent
Families
Parent
Parent
Parent
Alabama
2,695
31
4,314
7,040
38.3
0.4
61.3
Alaska
1,334
336
689
2,359
56.5
14.2
29.2
Arizona
3,167
404
5,225
8,796
36.0
4.6
59.4
Arkansas
1,226
80
1,027
2,333
52.6
3.4
44.0
California
217,819
28,112
121,534
367,465
59.3
7.7
33.1
Colorado
9,030
0
5,290
14,320
63.1
0.0
36.9
Connecticut
2,414
0
5,007
7,421
32.5
0.0
67.5
Delaware
353
13
2,393
2,759
12.8
0.5
86.7
District of
7,505
0
1,640
9,145
82.1
0.0
17.9
Columbia
Florida
10,661
1,625
34,083
46,369
23.0
3.5
73.5
Georgia
881
0
7,420
8,301
10.6
0.0
89.4
Guam
120
60
310
490
24.5
12.2
63.3
Hawai
3,492
1,625
993
6,110
57.2
26.6
16.3
Idaho
92
0
1,835
1,927
4.8
0.0
95.2
Il inois
1,763
0
8,846
10,609
16.6
0.0
83.4
Indiana
3,677
375
3,791
7,843
46.9
4.8
48.3
Iowa
3,668
333
4,030
8,031
45.7
4.1
50.2
Kansas
2,395
416
1,732
4,543
52.7
9.2
38.1
Kentucky
3,700
343
12,004
16,047
23.1
2.1
74.8
Louisiana
1,893
0
2,223
4,116
46.0
0.0
54.0
Maine
7,134
4,972
1,508
13,614
52.4
36.5
11.1
Maryland
20,245
1,004
6,456
27,705
73.1
3.6
23.3
Massachusetts
31,681
2,711
12,396
46,788
67.7
5.8
26.5
Michigan
12,984
0
6,534
19,518
66.5
0.0
33.5
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The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: FAQs

Single
Two
No
Total
Single
Two
No
State
Parent
Parent
Parent
Families
Parent
Parent
Parent
Minnesota
7,910
0
7,333
15,243
51.9
0.0
48.1
Mississippi
580
0
1,859
2,439
23.8
0.0
76.2
Missouri
6,409
0
3,613
10,022
63.9
0.0
36.1
Montana
1,251
183
1,365
2,799
44.7
6.5
48.8
Nebraska
2,487
0
2,728
5,215
47.7
0.0
52.3
Nevada
3,691
951
3,556
8,198
45.0
11.6
43.4
New Hampshire
2,771
28
2,057
4,856
57.1
0.6
42.4
New Jersey
6,441
34
3,736
10,211
63.1
0.3
36.6
New Mexico
5,960
981
4,552
11,493
51.9
8.5
39.6
New York
78,717
2,857
38,618
120,192
65.5
2.4
32.1
North Carolina
2,206
41
11,455
13,702
16.1
0.3
83.6
North Dakota
575
0
423
998
57.6
0.0
42.4
Ohio
11,082
1,026
43,450
55,558
19.9
1.8
78.2
Oklahoma
1,963
0
3,775
5,738
34.2
0.0
65.8
Oregon
22,569
4,098
5,140
31,807
71.0
12.9
16.2
Pennsylvania
20,813
216
14,204
35,233
59.1
0.6
40.3
Puerto Rico
3,692
258
205
4,155
88.9
6.2
4.9
Rhode Island
2,414
103
921
3,438
70.2
3.0
26.8
South Carolina
2,815
0
4,961
7,776
36.2
0.0
63.8
South Dakota
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Tennessee
5,350
184
10,914
16,448
32.5
1.1
66.4
Texas
7,652
0
13,654
21,306
35.9
0.0
64.1
Utah
1,198
0
1,674
2,872
41.7
0.0
58.3
Vermont
721
164
1,215
2,100
34.3
7.8
57.9
Virgin Islands
54
0
19
73
74.0
0.0
26.0
Virginia
11,018
0
8,818
19,836
55.5
0.0
44.5
Washington
21,688
8,483
12,894
43,065
50.4
19.7
29.9
West Virginia
1,368
0
4,480
5,848
23.4
0.0
76.6
Wisconsin
5,558
255
9,731
15,544
35.8
1.6
62.6
Wyoming
231
19
255
505
45.7
3.8
50.5








Totals
589,113
62,321
468,885 1,120,319
52.6
5.6
41.9
Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS), based on data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS).
Notes: NA denotes not available. June 2020 data for South Dakota were not reported. TANF cash assistance
caseload includes families receiving assistance in state-funded programs counted toward the TANF maintenance
of effort (MOE) requirement.
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link to page 33 The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: FAQs

Table B-7. TANF Work Participation Standard and Rate, By Jurisdiction,
for All Families: FY2019
Caseload
Effective
Reduction
(After Credit)
Work Participation
State
Standard
Credit
Standard
Rate
Alabama
50.0
50.0
0.0
54.8
Alaska
50.0
31.0
19.0
48.5
Arizona
50.0
50.0
0.0
21.6
Arkansas
50.0
50.0
0.0
26.4
California
50.0
16.2
33.8
55.3
Colorado
50.0
38.3
11.7
34.7
Connecticut
50.0
50.0
0.0
26.7
Delaware
50.0
50.0
0.0
23.1
District of Col.
50.0
48.0
2.0
50.0
Florida
50.0
31.6
18.4
41.5
Georgia
50.0
50.0
0.0
26.6
Guam
50.0
47.5
2.5
24.1
Hawai
50.0
50.0
0.0
29.3
Idaho
50.0
0.0
50.0
59.6
Il inois
50.0
43.0
7.0
61.5
Indiana
50.0
50.0
0.0
30.5
Iowa
50.0
50.0
0.0
27.2
Kansas
50.0
50.0
0.0
32.4
Kentucky
50.0
45.5
4.5
55.6
Louisiana
50.0
50.0
0.0
5.8
Maine
50.0
0.0
50.0
87.7
Maryland
50.0
44.3
5.7
26.6
Massachusetts
50.0
20.5
29.5
66.4
Michigan
50.0
50.0
0.0
60.5
Minnesota
50.0
40.4
9.6
35.7
Mississippi
50.0
50.0
0.0
49.1
Missouri
50.0
50.0
0.0
24.3
Montanaa
50.0
10.9
39.1
37.2
Nebraska
50.0
50.0
0.0
43.9
Nevada
50.0
22.0
28.0
38.1
New Hampshire
50.0
0.0
50.0
62.9
New Jersey
50.0
50.0
0.0
29.8
New Mexico
50.0
50.0
0.0
42.5
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link to page 35 The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: FAQs

Caseload
Effective
Reduction
(After Credit)
Work Participation
State
Standard
Credit
Standard
Rate
New York
50.0
44.4
5.6
21.7
North Carolina
50.0
44.6
5.4
26.4
North Dakota
50.0
50.0
0.0
54.1
Ohio
50.0
42.8
7.2
34.8
Oklahoma
50.0
46.9
3.1
31.5
Oregon
50.0
0.0
50.0
65.9
Pennsylvania
50.0
50.0
0.0
22.2
Puerto Rico
50.0
50.0
0.0
19.1
Rhode Island
50.0
50.0
0.0
8.9
South Carolina
50.0
50.0
0.0
29.9
South Dakota
50.0
0.0
50.0
57.7
Tennessee
50.0
50.0
0.0
33.2
Texas
50.0
50.0
0.0
21.8
Utah
50.0
50.0
0.0
11.8
Vermont
50.0
42.6
7.4
46.2
Virgin Islands
50.0
50.0
0.0
6.2
Virginia
50.0
50.0
0.0
40.5
Washington
50.0
46.8
3.2
50.5
West Virginia
50.0
45.6
4.4
34.7
Wisconsin
50.0
41.2
8.8
51.8
Wyoming
50.0
0.0
50.0
72.5
Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS), based on data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS).
a. State did not meet its work participation standard.
Table B-8. TANF Work Participation Standard and Rate, By Jurisdiction, for Two-
Parent Families: FY2019
Caseload
Effective
Work
Reduction
(After Credit)
Participation
State
Standard
Credit
Standard
Rate
Alabama
90.0
89.5
0.5
52.9
Alaska
90.0
39.5
50.5
64.2
Arizona
90.0
74.0
16.0
55.9
Arkansas
90.0
84.2
5.8
27.0
Californiaa
90.0
25.6
64.4
31.1
Colorado
NA
NA
NA
NA
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link to page 35 link to page 35 The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: FAQs

Caseload
Effective
Work
Reduction
(After Credit)
Participation
State
Standard
Credit
Standard
Rate
Connecticut
NA
NA
NA
NA
Delaware
NA
NA
NA
NA
District of Col.
NA
NA
NA
NA
Florida
90.0
80.8
9.2
44.3
Georgia
NA
NA
NA
NA
Guam
90.0
47.5
42.5
54.6
Hawai
90.0
75.3
14.7
46.4
Idaho
NA
NA
NA
NA
Il inois
NA
NA
NA
NA
Indiana
90.0
77.2
12.8
29.8
Iowa
90.0
80.2
9.8
22.3
Kansas
90.0
75.6
14.4
39.6
Kentucky
90.0
45.5
44.5
57.9
Louisiana
NA
NA
NA
NA
Maine
90.0
0.0
90.0
97.3
Maryland
NA
NA
NA
NA
Massachusetts
90.0
20.5
69.5
84.8
Michigan
NA
NA
NA
NA
Minnesota
NA
NA
NA
NA
Mississippi
NA
NA
NA
NA
Missouri
NA
NA
NA
NA
Montanaa
90.0
41.0
49.0
40.2
Nebraska
NA
NA
NA
NA
Nevadaa
90.0
22.0
68.0
50.3
New Hampshire
NA
NA
NA
NA
New Jersey
90.0
77.3
12.7
92.8
New Mexico
90.0
62.5
27.5
52.7
New York
NA
NA
NA
NA
North Carolina
90.0
44.6
45.4
46.7
North Dakota
NA
NA
NA
NA
Ohio
90.0
84.1
5.9
37.7
Oklahoma
NA
NA
NA
NA
Oregon
90.0
0.0
90.0
98.6
Pennsylvania
90.0
89.4
0.6
37.8
Puerto Rico
NA
NA
NA
NA
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link to page 35 link to page 35 The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: FAQs

Caseload
Effective
Work
Reduction
(After Credit)
Participation
State
Standard
Credit
Standard
Rate
Rhode Islanda
90.0
58.8
31.2
11.8
South Carolina
NA
NA
NA
NA
South Dakota
NA
NA
NA
NA
Tennessee
90.0
69.4
20.6
32.8
Texas
NA
NA
NA
NA
Utah
NA
NA
NA
NA
Vermont
90.0
61.2
28.8
58.0
Virgin Islands
NA
NA
NA
NA
Virginia
NA
NA
NA
NA
Washington
90.0
46.8
43.2
69.6
West Virginia
NA
NA
NA
NA
Wisconsin
90.0
68.3
21.7
66.5
Wyominga
90.0
0.0
90.0
77.6
Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS), based on data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS).
Note: NA = jurisdiction does not serve two-parent families in its TANF assistance program.
a. State did not meet its two-parent family work participation standard.











Author Information

Gene Falk
Patrick A. Landers
Specialist in Social Policy
Analyst in Social Policy


Congressional Research Service

31

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: FAQs


Acknowledgments
Amber Wilhelm and Calvin DeSouza produced this report’s data visualizations.

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Congressional Research Service
RL32760 · VERSION 198 · UPDATED
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