1 1 (March 16, 2020)

handle is hein.crs/govcixz0001 and id is 1 raw text is: 

               Researh Sevice

COVID-19: The Potential Role of TANF in

Addressing the Economic Effects

March 16, 2020
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant provides grants to the 50 states,
District of Columbia, American Indian tribes, and certain territories with the broad purpose of
ameliorating and addressing root causes of childhood economic disadvantage. Some of the flexibility the
block grant affords to states has been used, and augmented by federal legislation, to address the fallout
from Hurricane Katrina and the deep economic recession of 2007-2009. TANF is currently funded on a
short-term basis, with funding set to expire on May 22, 2020.

Overview of TANF
TANF was created by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996
(PRWORA, P.L. 104-193) and is best known as funding for state programs that provide monthly
assistance to needy families with children. PRWORA placed work requirements on states and time limits
on families that receive this assistance. TANF funds a wide range of benefits and services-including
what are known as non-recurrent short-term benefits, which are defined as aid that addresses a specific
episode of need and does not exceed four months. The receipt of a nonrecurrent short-term benefit does
not count toward a family's time limit, nor other requirements such as those related to work, assigning
child support to the state, and state reporting of detailed characteristics. In crafting a response to
Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Congress enacted special rules to permit states to tap an existing fund to pay
nonrecurrent short-term benefits to families evacuated from their homes because of Hurricane Katrina.
In terms of addressing unemployment related to a recession, TANF can also fund employment services
and subsidized employment. If an individual is in subsidized employment, the requirements of assistance
(e.g., time limits) also do not count.

TANF Funding

The basic TANF block grant provided to states was established in PRWORA in 1996, based on spending
in its predecessor programs in the early 1990s. The basic block grant has not been adjusted for inflation or
changes in other circumstances (e.g., population growths and shifts among the states). It represents the

                                                               Congressional Research Service

Prepaed for Membeivs and
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