Welfare in US – TANF has provided basic cash assistance to fewer and fewer needy families

Eighteen years ago, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant was created as a part of the 1996 welfare reform law to replace the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program.  Welfare reform provided states with a fixed block grant in exchange for greater flexibility in how they could use the funds.  In addition, for the first time, cash benefits were time limited and states were held accountable for engaging most cash assistance recipients in work or work-related activities.

Over time, TANF has provided basic cash assistance to fewer and fewer needy families, even when need has increased.

Over the last 18 years, the national TANF average monthly caseload has fallen by almost two-thirds — from 4.7 million families in 1996 to 1.7 million families in 2013 — even as poverty and deep poverty have worsened.  The number of families with children in poverty hit a low of 5.2 million in 2000, but has since increased to more than 7 million.  Similarly, the number of families with children in deep poverty (with incomes below half of the poverty line) hit a low of about 2 million in 2000, but is now above 3 million.

Capture d’écran 2014-08-23 à 09.41.41

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at  Chart Book: TANF at 18 — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.


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