TANF Policy

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

By: Nathan Leed

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The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides temporary financial assistance for pregnant women and families with one or more dependent children. TANF provides financial assistance to help pay for food, shelter, utilities, and expenses other than medical.

Step 1: Recognizing the Problem

After Kennedy's assassination, President Johnson had a free hand in Congress and he was determined to use it to remake government and society. Johnson declared that the federal government would wage a War on Poverty and his administration proposed a huge array of new subsidy programs for individuals and state and local governments. After Johnson left office, there was a bipartisan consensus in Washington to preserve and even expand his legacy. Overall, Johnson recognized the problem of many needy families and started to put an end to it. After Johnson's time in office, many Presidents following decided to address the problem.

Step 2: Formulating a Policy

In order to help put an end to hungry and needy families, Congress created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant through the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. After the many policies created, TANF replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), which had provided cash welfare to poor families with children since 1935. Under TANF, the federal government provides a block grant to the states, which use these funds to operate their own programs. To receive federal funds, states must also spend some of their own dollars on programs for needy families. But, for families to receive funds, there are many restrictions.

TANF is only available for limited times and only applies to certain immigrants and citizens who qualify

Step 3: Adopting the Policy

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program was created by legislation passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by the Bill Clinton, president in 1996. Clinton signed a third version of the welfare policy after the Senate voted 74-24 and the House of Representatives voted 256-170 in favor of welfare reform legislation, formally known as the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA). Clinton signed the bill into law on August 22, 1996. PRWORA replaced AFDC with TANF and dramatically changed the way the federal government and states determine eligibility and provide aid for needy families.

Step 4: implementing the Policy

Receiving government money to support your family is not as easy as many think. Eligibility for a Welfare program depends on numerous factors. Eligibility is determined using gross and net income, size of the family, and any crisis situation such as medical emergencies, pregnancy, homelessness or unemployment. A case worker is assigned to those applying for aid. They will gather all the necessary information to determine the amount and type of benefits that an individual is eligible for. The Federal government provides assistance through TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). TANF is a grant given to each state to run their own welfare program. To help overcome the former problem of unemployment due to reliance on the welfare system, the TANF grant requires that all recipients of welfare aid must find work within two years of receiving aid, including single parents who are required to work at least 30 hours per week opposed to 35 or 55 required by two parent families. Failure to comply with work requirements could result in loss of benefits.

Step 5: Evaluating the Policy

Overall, there are many benefits to people that are using TANF or welfare for help, and assistance. Due to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, People are able to live a sustainable life and not have to worry about living in poverty or hunger, and they can also support their children. However, there are many flaws to the system. A flaw is that some money that is provided to those who receive assistance, is funded by the taxes paid for by working citizens. This causes some discussion, as people do not appreciate their hard earned money going to people that do not do anything. However, there are many laws that must be followed in order to receive money, such as job hunting and income factors for people applying for aid. As stated in the paragraph above, there are many requirements set by the government to receive funding, and it can also depend on each state and their governemts directly.