Cohabitation and Marriage Rules in State TANF Programs


This paper reports the results of a survey of state TANF rules regarding the treatment of unrelated cohabitors in households containing TANF units. The research focused primarily on identifying differences in how the eligibility of a family is treated depending on the household adult(s) relationship to the children, and, to the extent it matters, marital status. In TANF rules, as was the case in AFDC, the key distinction between types of families is not made on the basis of marriage, but on whether the adults are (or are not) the natural or adoptive parents of the child. In addition, the research focused particularly on rules governing unrelated cohabitors, which are less well understood. For example, the researchers also investigated how financial contributions from unrelated cohabitors are treated. Finally, researchers also investigated how work rules vary across types of families. [69 PDF pages]

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