P.L. 104-193

Title I: Block Grants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families


AFDC provided income support to families with children deprived of parental support. JOBS was an employment and training program for AFDC recipients. Emergency Assistance (EA) provided short term emergency services and benefits to needy families. The federal government established eligibility criteria for AFDC and EA benefits and guidelines for the JOBS program. States determined benefit levels which were required to be applied uniformly to all families in similar circumstances.

The law block grants AFDC, Emergency Assistance (EA), and JOBS into a single capped entitlement to states—Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).

States are required to implement their block grants programs by 7/1/97. States have the option to submit plans immediately subsequent to the President's signing of the bill (8/22/96). The Department of Health and Human Services reviews the plan for completeness.


Open-ended funding was on a matching basis for AFDC benefits and administration and EA. JOBS was an entitlement requiring state match and was capped at $1 billion in FY 1996.

The total cash assistance block grant is estimated to be $16.4 billion for each year from FY 1996 to FY 2003. Each state receives a fixed amount—based on historical expenditures for AFDC benefits and administration, EA, and JOBS—equal to the greater of: (1) the average of federal payments for these programs in FYs 1992-1994; (2) federal payments in FY 1994, plus additional EA funding for some states; or (3) estimated federal payments in FY 1995. States can carry over unused grant funds to subsequent fiscal years.

AFDC Entitlement

AFDC was an entitlement to states. Recipients of SSI and Foster Care payments were not eligible for AFDC. Eligible individuals were guaranteed aid at state-established benefit levels, Certain individuals also received guaranteed child care the state will provide opportunities for recipients who have benefits. States received federal matching dollars for expenditures, without a cap. Benefits were guaranteed to eligible individuals even in recessions and fiscal downturns.

No individual guarantee of benefits, but the state plan must have ''objective criteria for delivery of benefits and determining eligibility'' and provide an "explanation of how been adversely affected to be heard in an appeal process."

Time Limits for Cash Assistance

Recipients remained eligible for benefits as long as they met program eligibility rules.

Families who have received federally-funded assistance for 5 cumulative years (or less at state option) would be ineligible for federally-funded cash aid. States are permitted to exempt up to 20% of the caseload from this time limit. Months spent living on Indian reservations with populations of at least 1,000 and unemployment rates of at least 50% do not count against the time limit. Block grant money transferred to Title XX can be used to provide non-cash assistance to families after the federal time limit. State funds that are used to count toward the maintenance of effort requirements may be used to provide assistance to families beyond the federal time limit

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