Description and Assessment of State Approaches to Diversion Programs and Activities Under Welfare Reform. Footnotes to Table Il-I

08/01/1998

1 Although Alaska, Nevada and Rhode Island have not yet implemented their diversion lump sum program, we include them in this table

because they have a detailed plan which will be implemented. Rhode Island does not have an implementation date at this time.

2 Blank entries for the California, Colorado, and Iowa indicate that the scope and nature of the terms are determined at the county level with varying levels of guidance from the states. For example, Iowa sets the period of ineligibility for TANF assistance at 2:1, i.e., two months of ineligibility for each equivalent TANF aid month represented by the lump sum amount.

3 A blank entry for the Kentucky indicates that case workers have discretion over the scope and nature of the terms.

4 Although Maine does not consider its diversion program to be lump sum, we have classified Maine's program as a lump sum payment

programs because its program matches our definition of diversion and the elements of a lump sum payment program in other states.

5 Texas offers a fixed amount of$1000. The lump sum is not a function of monthly TANF benefits.

6 The lump sum payment diversion program is implemented on less than a statewide basis in two states: Iowa, and Texas. Iowa currently operates its lump sum diversion program in three counties and is planning to expand to additional counties for state fiscal year 1999; and Texas currently operates the program in one county but plans to expand the program to 15 counties in April 1998 and go statewide in August 1998.

7 Kentucky offers a maximum amount of$1500. The lump sum is not a function of monthly TANF benefits.

8 In special circumstances the lump sum amount can exceed $1000 in Nevada with administrative approval. In Maryland, diversion recipients with compelling circumstances can receive up to 12 month's worth of assistance with administrative approval.

9 Minnesota is the only state in which the lump sum amount includes the cash value of the food stamps so the actual cash amount an applicant will receive is $763/month and not the monthly maximum TANF cash assistance amount of $532. Diverted families apply for Food Stamps and the diversion lump sum payment is not counted as income or resources in the Food Stamp application. All other states offer lump sum equal to monthly cash assistance an applicant would get under TANF based on family size.

10 For Maximum Payment Formula, the number of months refer to a multiple of the monthly benefits an applicant would get under TANF based on family size.

11 In California, Maryland, Minnesota, and Nevada, if an individual takes a lump sum cash payment the period she must wait to reapply for TANF is equivalent to the number of TANF aid months represented by the lump sum amount. In Virginia, the period of ineligibility is 1.33 times the equivalent number of TANF aid months represented by the lump sum amount.

12 In Idaho, Iowa, Montana, and Rhode Island, if an individual takes a lump sum cash payment, the period of ineligibility is two time the equivalent number of TANF aid months represented by the lump sum amount. No other states double the period of ineligibility based on the value of the lump sum payment.

13 North Carolina does not have a specific period of ineligibility for recipients of lump sum payments. While the current program provides for repayment, proposed revisions to North Carolina's TANF plan, which are about to be approved by the legislature, provide that the lump sum payments do not have to be repaid.

14 Repayment terms describes the amount diverted families must repay and the method of repayment. Pro-rated amount indicates that families who receive diversion payments equivalent to 3 months may only have to payback 2 months of it. A pro-rated method of repayment indicates that there is a percentage withhold.

15 Texas makes some exceptions with regard to children. For example, if families break up in the interim and the children for some reason are living with the grandmother, then the grandmother can apply for TANF cash assistance on behalf of the children.

16 In Arkansas, lump sum assistance is treated like a loan and the repayment requirement applies to all diversion recipients, regardless of whether they reapply for TANF assistance. While the applicant agrees to forego TANF assistance for 100 days upon receipt of lump sum payment, this period of ineligibility has no bearing on the payback requirement. If the repayment is not deducted from future TANF assistance, the terms of repayment are determined between the caseworker and the recipient. By contrast, in most states repayment is associated with reapplying for TANF during the period of ineligibility.

17 In California, there may be a cost of accepting diversion. The month in which the lump sum payment is made/received counts toward the 60-month time limit even though the diverted individual has complied with the duration of ineligibility. In contrast, most states count the amount towards the time limit terms only when families come back during the period of ineligibility.

18 Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and West Virginia impose an automatic cost for accepting diversion. Lump sum recipients will have their lump sum counted towards toward the lifetime limit even though they comply with the duration of ineligibility. Nevada and West Virginia translate the lump sum amount into the equivalent number of TANF assistance months and apply these months against the recipients' lifetime TANF limit. For each episode of diversion assistance, Utah counts one month against the diversion recipient's lifetime TANF limit. Idaho is particularly unique in that the individual has two months for every equivalent TANF month counted toward the lifetime limit.

19 Although Wisconsin officials did not identify the state's Job Access Loan as a lump sum payment program, the major components of the job access loan program are very similar to components of lump sum payment programs. Job access loans are lump sum payments made available to TANF applicants, as well as TANF recipients, to help them avoid receiving TANF benefits by obtaining or maintaining employment. Although this lump sum payment is expressly a loan that must be paid back, several states essentially require full repayment of lump sum payments through the operation of "penalties."

20In Ohio, all 88 counties have substantial flexibility in designing and implementing their lump sum payment programs. The state does provide the counties with a model framework for developing their diversion programs - the Ohio model is known as the Prevention, Retention, and Contingency program (PRC). For example, the parameters include a maximum lump sum payment of $1800, limited eligibility to families earning 150 percent of poverty rate or less, and that PRC is a one-time grant. Counties have the flexibility to use PRC funds to create non-lump sum payment programs. For example, one county has used this money to purchase vans to transport clients to their jobs.