Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2000. Data Issues Relating to the AFDC-TANF Transition

03/01/2000

States had the option of beginning their TANF programs as soon as PRWORA was enacted in August 1996, and a few states began TANF programs as early as September 1996.  All states were required to implement TANF by July 1, 1997.  Because states implemented TANF at different times, the FY 1997 data reflects a combination of the AFDC and TANF programs.  In some states, limited data are available for FY 1997 because states were given a transition period of six months after they implemented TANF before they were required to report data on the characteristics and work activities of TANF participants.

Because of the greatly expanded range of activities allowed under TANF, a substantial portion of TANF funds will be spent on activities other than cash payments to families.  For the purpose of tracking expenditure trends, these tables only include those TANF funds spent on "cash and work-based assistance," not on work activities, supportive services, or other allowable uses of funds.  However, the administrative costs include funds spent administering these other activities. 1

There also is potential for discontinuity between the AFDC and the TANF caseload figures.  One program change is that there is no longer a separate "Unemployed Parent" program under TANF.  While a separate work participation rate is calculated for two-parent families, this population is not identical to the UP caseload under AFDC.  Moreover, it is possible that a limited number of families will be considered recipients of TANF assistance, even if they do not receive a monthly cash benefit.  At present, the vast majority of families receiving "assistance" 2 are, in fact, receiving cash payments; however, this may change over time.

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