Role of Intermediaries in Linking TANF Recipients with Jobs: Final Report. Key Work-Related TANF Policies in the Study States

02/10/2000

Because states now have more control over the design and implementation of their assistance policies and programs for low-income families, requirements for and services provided to families vary from state to state, and in some cases, from one locality to another within a state. Key work-related policies that guide the delivery of employment-related services in the study states are summarized in Table I.2. Undoubtedly, some of these policies will influence the work of intermediaries more than others will, but they all help to shape the environment in which intermediaries operate. How a state or locality defines its work requirements may influence the range of services an intermediary might provide and the pool of recipients to whom they will be provided. Sanctions and time limits may influence the ease with which intermediaries are able to encourage recipients to take advantage of the services they have to offer. The provision of supportive services may help to ease the transition to work and increase job retention.

Table I.2
Selected Welfare Policies of the Research States
State Work Requirement
(Single Parent, FY 1999)
Exemptions Sanctions Time Limits Transitional Benefits
Arizona 30 hrs/wk

Mostly job-search activities  education and training determined on a case-by-case basis

Narrow

Youngest child younger than 3 months

Full-family (TANF)

Progressive

24 of 60 mos Child care, Medicaid - 24 mos

Transportation

Extended EID (Earned Income Disregard)

Arkansas 25 hrs/wk

Broad range of initial activities for 6 weeks then education, training, work experience  must be combined with at least 20 hours of work

Narrow

Youngest child younger than 3 months

Full-family (TANF)

Progressive

24 mos Child care - 36 mos

Transportation - 2 mos

Medicaid - 12 mos

Expanded and extended EID

California 32 hrs/wk

Up-front job search required  education and training allowed if employed

Broad

Youngest child younger than 6 months

Parent-only (TANF) 60 mos

(Parent- only)

Child care, Medicaid - 12 mos

Expanded and extended EID

Connecticut 25 hrs/wk

Mostly job search activities  education and training allowed as clients near the end of the time limit

Broad

Youngest child younger than 12 months

Full-family (TANF)

Progressive

21 mos Child care - income eligible

Medicaid - 24 mos

Expanded and extended EID

Florida 25 hrs/wk

Job-search for a maximum of four weeks then education and training determined on a case-by- case basis

Narrow

Youngest child younger than 3 months

Full-family (TANF)

Immediate

24 of 60 or 36 of 72 mos total Child care - 24 mos

Medicaid, food stamps - 12 mos

Expanded and extended EID

Minnesota 30 hrs/wk

8 week up-front job search for most clients, although alternatives such as education or training can be pursued with approval  broad range of activities after up-front job search, including education and training

Broad

Youngest child younger than 12 months

Partial grant (TANF)

Progressive

Vendor payments

60 mos Medicaid - 6 mos

Expanded and extended EID

Nebraska No specific number of hours

Broad range of initial activities including education and training (up to 24 months), work experience, and job search

Narrow

Youngest child younger than 3 months

Full-family (TANF)

Immediate

24 of 48 mos; 60 mos total Child care - income eligible

Medicaid - 12 mos

Expanded EID

Ohio 30 hrs/wk

Varies by county  must meet state work requirements; emphasis on initial job search followed by work experience

Narrow

Youngest child younger than 12 months

Full-family (TANF)

Immediate

36 of 60 mos; 60 mos total Extended EID
Texas 25 hrs/wk

Mostly job search  education and training allowed if employed

Broad

Youngest child younger than 48 months

Parent-only (TANF) 12, 24, or 36 of 60 mos; 60 mos total Medicaid - 12 mos
Virginia 30 hrs/wk

3 month up-front job search required  if no employment, placed in work experience  education and training allowed if employed

Broad

Youngest child younger than 18 months

Full-family (TANF)

Immediate

24 of 60 mos; 60 mos total Child care, transportation, Medicaid - 12 mos

Expanded and extended EID

Work Requirements.  The study states rely on several different approaches to help TANF recipients enter the paid labor market. Three of the states allow at least some recipients to participate in a broad range of initial work-related activities including education and training, work experience, or job search. The remaining states require all clients to participate in job search initially, reserving participation in other activities  including education, training, and community work experience  for persons who are employed, for whom barriers to employment have been identified, or who do not find employment after a specified period of time. Practically speaking, the majority of recipients initially participate in a job search program, even when states allow a broad range of work-related activities.

Exemptions.  Under TANF, states are free to decide who is required to participate in work activities, although for purposes of meeting federal work participation rates, the only families who may be excluded are those with a child under the age of one. Half the states in this study changed their participation policies so that fewer clients are exempted from participation than were exempted under JOBS. All of the sites exempt some recipients from participation, in some sites, however, these exemptions are defined quite narrowly.

Sanctions and Time Limits.  Seven of the 10 study states have implemented full family sanctions to enforce participation in work or work-related activities, while three eliminate only a portion of the TANF grant for noncompliance with work requirements. Eight of the ten study states have adopted a time limit that is shorter than the federal 60-month limit. The shortest time limit adopted by any of the study states is 21 months. One of the states that has adopted the 60-month time limit only eliminates benefits for the parent.

Work Supports.  To support families who find work, some of the study states have adopted policies to extend Medicaid coverage and provide child care or transportation assistance to families who find employment. Several of the study states also have enacted generous earned income disregards that allow families to continue to receive cash assistance while they are working. The majority of states expanded the earned income disregard that was in place for the first four months of employment under the AFDC program and also extended it beyond the first four months. Only one state did not extend or expand the earned income disregard for working families when TANF was implemented.

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