Cash assistance benefits for the nation's poorest families with children fell again in purchasing power in 2013 and are now at least 20 percent below their 1996 levels in 37 states, after adjusting for inflation.
TANF provides a safety net to relatively few poor families: in 2012, just 25 families received TANF benefits for every 100 poor families, down from 68 families receiving TANF for every 100 in poverty in 1996. But for the families that participate in the program, it often is their only source of support, and without it, they would have no cash income to meet their basic needs.
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant provides federal funds to states for income assistance programs for poor families with children, welfare-to-work efforts, work supports such as child care, and other social services for low-income families. Roughly 4 million Americans receive TANF-funded assistance.
- An Introduction to TANF
The Center conducts research and analysis on federal TANF issues as well as state policy choices and implementation issues. We also provide technical assistance to state policymakers and policy analysts to help states design their TANF programs to reach more eligible families and meet families’ particular needs.
Revised May 6, 2014
Updated November 19, 2013
October 21, 2013
August 21, 2013
Benefit Restrictions Beyond Those in Senate Immigration Bill Would Jeopardize Legalization for Many and Risk Severe Hardships for Others
June 14, 2013
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