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CRS: The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: A Primer on TANF Financing and Federal Requirements, Gene Falk, Specialist in Social Policy. October 10, 2012

  • The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant provides federal grants to the 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Indian tribes, and the territories for a wide range of benefits, services, and activities. It is best known for helping states pay for cash welfare for needy families with children, but it funds a wide array of additional activities. TANF was created in the 1996 welfare reform law (P.L. 104-193). Current law funds TANF through March 2013. TANF provides a basic block grant of $16.5 billion to the 50 states and District of Columbia, and $0.1 billion to U.S. territories. It also requires states to contribute in the aggregate from their own funds at least $10.4 billion for benefits and services to needy families with children—this is known as the maintenance-of-effort (MOE) requirement.”
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