The Evaluation of the Tribal Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Initial Implementation Findings. Legislative Basis


To reinforce the purpose of WtW grants, Congress established eligibility criteria and spending rules to ensure that the funds are used primarily for individuals who have serious disadvantages in the labor market. As originally enacted, the BBA required that WtW grantees spend at least 70 percent of their grant funds on (1) long-term TANF recipients or recipients within a year of reaching a TANF time limit, who also have two of three specified barriers to employment; or (2) noncustodial parents of children in a long-term TANF case, who themselves face two of the three specified barriers. The three problems specified in the original language of the BBA were (1) lack of a high school diploma or GED and low reading or math skills, (2) a substance abuse problem, and (3) a poor work history. The remaining grant funds (30 percent or less) could be spent on people who met less stringent criteria: TANF recipients (or noncustodial parents of TANF recipients) who have characteristics associated with long-term welfare dependence (such as being a school dropout or teenage parent), or who have a poor work history. These eligibility criteria applied to the general WtW program, as well as to tribal WtW grantees.