Federalism at work (TANF)

National , State and Local government working together.

BACKGROUND STORY

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is one of the United States of America's federal assistance programs. It began on July 1, 1997,


The Act provides temporary financial assistance while aiming to get people off of that assistance, primarily through employment.

How Federalism Works

TANF is the quintessential example of federalism at work. It is a partnership between the states and the federal government capitalizing on state innovation and federal resources.

Federal Government

The main goal of federal


  • the federal government provides a block grant to the states,
  • set up state-spending requirement, known as the “maintenance of effort” (MOE) requirement,
  • Federal law bars states from using federal TANF dollars to assist most legal immigrants until they have been in the United States for at least five years.
  • Federal government also sets up eligibility requirements.

State Government

The States goals are


  • States must require recipients to engage in work activities
  • Impose sanctions (by reducing or terminating benefits) if an individual refuses to participate.
  • States have broad discretion to determine eligibility for TANF and benefits and services.
  • States set up benefit levels.

Local Government

The local government acts as

  • Places where the TANF getters can work.
  • Make sure that people would get in fulfill all state requirements.

How Federalism helps

The federal structure in the TANF case helps . By having a federal structure people could getting accessibility through local government but knowing that federal government in control.