January 21, 2016

New CRS Report Answers a Number of Frequently Asked Questions about TANF

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) recently released a report that answers a number of frequently asked questions about the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant. The federal grant, established by the 1996 federal welfare reform law, funds a wide array of services and benefits, including cash assistance, for low-income families with children. The grant provides $16.5 billion in annual funding to the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The states and DC, in turn, are collectively required to annually contribute $10.4 billion of their own funds towards TANF-related activities. These state funds are also referred to as maintenance-of-effort (MOE) funds.

Some of the questions addressed in the report include the following:
  • How many families receive TANF or MOE-funded benefits and services?
  • How much does a family receive in TANF cash benefits per month in each state?
  • May states require drug testing of TANF cash assistance recipients?
  • Are there restrictions on a family’s use of TANF benefits?
  • What is the TANF work participation standard states must meet?

For the answers to these questions and many more, click here to read the full CRS report.