Comparing the New (TANF) with the Old (AFDC) - Public Opinion Polls, A Brief Background Of Afdc, Afdc-up, Federal Spending On Afdc And Tanf
welfare program dependency recipients
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA; PL 104-193), the welfare-reform law enacted in 1996, ended the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program and replaced it with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. AFDC was an entitlement program that guaranteed
benefits to all recipients whose income and resources were below state-determined eligibility levels. However, state-determined tests of financial need for cash assistance were subject to federal guidelines and limits. Under TANF, a federal block-grant program, states have the authority to determine eligibility requirements and benefit levels. Unlike AFDC, TANF is not an entitlement program.
Because of this, there is no requirement that states aid, or apply uniform rules to, all families determined financially needy. (See Chapter 2 for the specific provisions of TANF.)
For several years prior to the passage of the controversial welfare-reform law, critics challenged many aspects of the existing program. On the one hand, many thought that a new welfare-to-work system would merely push welfare recipients deeper into poverty because former recipients would gain employment in low-wage
service-sector jobs. On the other hand, many felt that the old entitlement system did not reward hard work and that it discouraged the formation and stability of two-parent families. Others charged that the program actually harmed recipients by creating "welfare dependency." Welfare dependency refers to individuals' spending a good part of their potential working lives on welfare and passing
welfare dependency from one generation to another. Tied to the issue of welfare dependency was a growing belief that the living patterns of many of the poor supposedly contributed to their condition.
Because the U.S. welfare system was based on the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program for about sixty years, it is important to understand that program before comparing TANF to it. Following this brief background, the rest of the chapter will compare the old system with the new. The Great Depression of the
1930s brought enormous suffering to many Americans. The administration of …
As of October 1, 1990, states that operated AFDC were required to offer AFDC to children in two-parent families who were needy because one or both of their parents were unemployed. This program was called AFDCUP (unemployed parent). Eligibility for AFDC-UP was limited to families in which the principal wage earner was
unemployed but had a history of working. States that did not have an unemployed …
Table 7.1 shows the federal and state shares of the money spent on AFDC and related programs (1996 and earlier), and TANF (1997 and later). Prior to the enactment of TANF, the federal government reimbursed states for a portion of AFDC, the related expenditures for Emergency Assistance (EA), and Job Opportunity and Basic Skills
(JOBS). Federal funds paid from 50 to 80 percent of the state AFDC bene…
Under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, states determined the eligibility of needy families with children. However, it had to be done within federal TABLE 7.3 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) financial data: State Maintenance-of-Effort (MOE) requirements, fiscal year 2001 guidelines. If the
state determined that a family was financially needy, the family wa…
The number of AFDC recipients increased sharply in the early 1970s and then generally leveled off somewhat until 1979. During the economic downturn of 1979–81, the number of cases increased 10 percent. In 1982, following the passage of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA), the number of family participants dropped by 8
percent. The OBRA legislation included provisions that restricte…
Children make up the majority of AFDC/TANF recipients. The proportion of children receiving benefits remained relatively steady from 1980 to 1999. In 1980, TABLE 7.7 Maximum combined Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and food benefits1 for single-parent family from one to six persons2 January 1, 2003 69.1 percent of AFDC
recipients were children. Of the 5.1 million Americans who rece…
A number of studies have investigated the length of time AFDC recipients received assistance. While most TABLE 7.10 Trends in characteristics of those who receive Aid to Families with Dependent Children/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, fiscal year 1992–fiscal year 2001 recipients left the program after a fairly short
period, many returned later, potentially cycling in and ou…
TANF contains provisions to encourage two-parent families and reduce out-of-wedlock births. Several provisions deal specifically with the reduction of births among teen mothers. According to Rebecca A. Maynard, in Kids Having Kids: A Robin Hood Foundation Special Report on the Costs of Adolescent Childbearing (New York, NY:
Robin Hood Foundation, 1996), 70 percent of teen mothers received welfare …
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