Comparing the New (TANF) with the Old (AFDC) - Eligibility And Benefit Payments

family benefits families percent

Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)

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

State 100% MOE level 1 75% MOE level 2 80% MOE level 3
Alabama $52,285,491 $39,214,118 $41,828,393
Alaska 54,759,566 41,069,674 43,807,653
Arizona 115,468,709 86,601,532 92,374,967
Arkansas 27,785,269 20,838,952 22,228,215
California 3,630,719,457 2,723,039,593 2,904,575,566
Colorado 110,494,527 82,870,895 88,395,622
Connecticut 244,561,409 183,421,057 195,649,127
Delaware 29,028,092 21,771,069 23,222,474
Dist. of Columbia 93,931,934 70,448,951 75,145,547
Florida 491,151,302 368,363,477 392,921,042
Georgia 231,158,036 173,368,527 184,926,429
Hawaii 94,866,459 71,149,844 75,893,167
Idaho 17,367,172 13,025,379 13,893,738
Illinois 573,450,924 430,088,193 458,760,739
Indiana 151,367,364 113,525,523 121,093,891
Iowa 82,617,695 61,963,271 66,094,156
Kansas 82,332,787 61,749,590 65,866,230
Kentucky 89,891,250 67,418,438 71,913,000
Lousiana 73,886,837 55,415,128 59,109,470
Maine 50,031,924 37,523,943 40,025,539
Maryland 235,953,925 176,965,441 188,763,140
Massachusetts 478,596,697 358,947,523 382,877,358
Michigan 624,691,167 468,518,375 499,752,934
Minnesota 238,923,852 179,192,889 191,139,081
Mississippi 28,965,744 21,724,308 23,172,595
Missouri 160,161,033 120,120,775 128,128,826
Montana 19,777,757 14,833,318 15,822,206
Nebraska 20,907,789 15,680,842 16,726,231
Nevada 33,985,152 25,488,864 27,188,122
New Hampshire 42,820,004 32,115,003 34,256,003
New Jersey 400,213,342 300,160,007 320,170,674
New Mexico 49,715,729 37,286,797 39,772,583
New York 2,291,437,926 1,718,578,446 1,833,150,341
North Carolina 205,567,684 154,175,763 164,454,147
North Dakota 12,092,381 9,069,286 9,673,905
Ohio 521,108,327 390,831,245 416,886,662
Oklahoma 81,435,709 61,076,782 65,147,567
Oregon 122,181,732 91,636,299 97,745,386
Pennsylvania 542,834,133 407,125,600 434,267,306
Rhode Island 80,489,394 60,367,046 64,391,515
South Carolina 47,902,320 35,926,740 38,321,856
South Dakota 11,371,029 8,528,271 9,096,823
Tennessee 110,413,717 82,809,878 88,330,537
Texas 314,301,005 235,725,754 251,440,804
Utah 33,185,380 24,889,035 26,548,304
Vermont 34,066,533 25,549,900 27,253,226
Virgina 170,897,560 128,173,170 136,718,048
Washington 360,793,973 270,595,480 288,635,178
West Virgina 43,058,053 32,293,540 34,446,442
Wisconsin 224,721,147 168,540,861 179,776,918
Wyoming 12,410,230 9,307,672 9,928,184
SOURCE: "Table 2:14. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Financial Data: State MOE Requirements, Updated TANF MOE [Maintenance-of-Effort] Table for Fiscal Year 2001," in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF) Fifth Annual Report to Congress, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance, February 2003 [Online] http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/ofa/annualreport5/ [accessed January 11, 2004]

guidelines. If the state determined that a family was financially needy, the family was guaranteed AFDC benefits.

The individual states defined "need" as what a person must have to exist: food, shelter, clothing, household supplies, utilities, and personal care items. States set their own benefits levels, established (within federal limitations) income and resource limits, and administered the program or supervised its administration. Eligible recipients received benefits no matter what the status of the economy, even in recessions and fiscal downturn. Eligibility for AFDC ended at a child's eighteenth birthday or, at state option, at a child's nineteenth birthday if the child was a full-time student in a secondary or technical school and was expected to complete the program before she or he reached age nineteen.

To receive AFDC payments, a family had to pass two tests. First, the family's gross income could not be greater than 185 percent of the need standard set by the state. For example, in Colorado, where the state had established a 1996 need standard of $421 per month for a three-person family, the family could earn no more than $779 per month to be eligible for AFDC. Second, the family's net income (income after taxes and certain other deductions) had to be below the state's payment standard (the amount the state pays), which in most states was below the need standard. (See Table 7.4.)

Need standards, based on 100 percent of "need," varied widely from state to state. For example, in 1996 the states of New Hampshire ($2,034), Washington ($1,252), Hawaii ($1,140), and Vermont ($1,148) believed the monthly cost of maintaining a basic life for a family of three in their respective states was much higher than did the states of Indiana ($320), Delaware ($338), Nebraska ($364), New Mexico ($389), Mississippi ($368), and the territories of the Virgin Islands ($300) and Puerto Rico ($360). The U.S. average need standard for a three-person family in 1996 was $675 a month, while the median (half were higher, half were lower) need standard among the fifty states and the District of Columbia was $645. (See Table 7.4.)

In addition, Table 7.4 shows typical 1996 maximum AFDC payments for three-member families. As in the need standards, states varied widely in typical monthly payments. In all cases, the typical maximum monthly AFDC payments were well below the 1996 federal poverty guidelines for a family of three ($12,516 annually, or $1,043 per month). The typical 1996 AFDC payments for a family of three in Alaska ($923), Hawaii ($712), New York, Suffolk County ($703), Connecticut ($636), Vermont ($650), and California ($607) were much higher than in Mississippi ($120), Alabama ($164), Tennessee ($185), Texas ($188), and Louisiana ($190). The U.S. average payment for a family of three was $399, and the median payment was $389.

Most AFDC families were eligible for and received food stamps, an important supplement to the cash assistance paid under AFDC. Table 7.4 shows the combined benefit amounts and their percentage of 1996 poverty guidelines (based on the guideline for a family of three in

TABLE 7.4
Benefit characteristics for a one-parent family of three persons, by state, January 1996

State Gross income limit (185 percent of need standard) 100 percent of "need" Maximum AFDC grant2 Food stamp benefit3 Combined benefits Combined benefits as a percent of 1996 poverty guidelines4 AFDC benefits as a percent of 1996 poverty guidelines4
Alabama $1,245 $ 673 $164 $313 $ 477 44 15
Alaska 1,902 1,028 923 321 1,244 92 68
Arizona 1,783 964 347 313 660 61 32
Arkansas 1,304 705 204 313 517 48 19
California 1,351 730 607 245 852 79 56
Colorado 779 421 421 301 722 67 39
Connecticut 1,613 872 636 236 872 81 59
Delaware 625 338 338 313 651 60 31
District of Columbia 1,317 712 420 301 721 67 39
Florida 1,943 1,050 303 313 616 57 28
Georgia 784 424 280 313 593 55 26
Guam 611 330 330 461 791 73 31
Hawaii 2,109 1,140 712 471 1,183 95 57
Idaho 1,833 991 317 313 630 58 29
Illinois 1,782 963 5377 313 690 64 35
Indiana 592 320 288 313 601 56 27
Iowa 1,571 849 426 299 725 67 39
Kansas 794 429 5429 313 742 69 30
Kentucky 973 526 262 313 575 53 24
Louisiana 1,217 658 190 313 503 47 18
Maine 1,023 553 418 301 719 66 39
Maryland 956 517 5373 313 686 63 34
Massachusetts 1,045 565 565 257 822 76 52
Michigan:
(Washtenaw Co.) 1,086 587 489 280 769 71 45
(Wayne Co.) 1,019 551 459 289 748 69 42
Minnesota 984 532 532 267 799 74 49
Mississippi 681 368 120 313 433 40 11
Missouri 1,565 846 292 313 605 56 27
Montana 1,001 541 425 299 724 67 39
Nebraska 673 364 364 313 677 63 34
Nevada 1,293 699 348 313 661 61 32
New Hampshire 3,763 2,034 550 262 812 75 51
New Jersey 1,822 985 5424 307 731 68 39
New Mexico 720 389 389 310 699 65 36
New York:
(New York City) 1,067 577 5577 270 847 78 53
(Suffolk Co.) 1,301 703 5703 232 935 86 65
North Carolina 1,006 544 272 313 585 54 25

the forty-eight contiguous states). Of the 50 states, Mississippi had the lowest combined benefits ($433), which amounted to 40 percent of the poverty rate ($1,082 a month). Hawaii had the highest at $1,183, or 95 percent of Hawaii's poverty rate of $1,244 per month.

In 1996, in almost four-fifths (78 percent) of the states and territories, typical payment amounts were well below the state-established need standards. Only one-fifth (22 percent) of the states/territories had typical payment amounts equal to their need standard for a three-person family. In 1980 payments were more likely to equal need standards; thirty-two states and territories (60.4 percent) had payments equal to need standards. Measured in constant (1996) dollars, the average need standard declined by 30 percent from 1970 to 1996, while the maximum benefit declined by 51 percent.

Similarly, typical monthly AFDC payments dropped sharply in real value (buying power). The typical monthly payment per family changed from $178 in 1970 to $377 in 1995. However, in constant 1995 dollars, the typical benefit fell from $704 in 1970 to $377 in 1995, a 46 percent drop. Because the average family size became smaller over this period, average benefits per person dropped less sharply (25.8 percent). (See Table 7.5.)

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, states decide how much to aid a needy family. No federal guidelines exist for determining eligibility and no requirement mandates that states aid all needy families. Though TANF does not require states to have a need standard or a gross income limit, as did AFDC, many states have based their TANF programs in part on their earlier practices.

The maximum benefit is the amount paid to a family with no countable income. (Federal law specifies what income counts toward figuring benefits and what income, such as child support, is to be disregarded by the state.) The maximum benefit is only to be paid to those families that comply with TANF's work requirements or other program

TABLE 7.4
Benefit characteristics for a one-parent family of three persons, by state, January 1996

State Gross income limit (185 percent of need standard) 100 percent of "need" Maximum AFDC grant2 Food stamp benefit3 Combined benefits Combined benefits as a percent of 1996 poverty guidelines4 AFDC benefits as a percent of 1996 poverty guidelines4
North Dakota 797 431 431 298 729 67 40
Ohio 1,709 924 5341 313 654 60 32
Oklahoma 1,193 645 307 313 620 57 28
Oregon 851 460 5460 313 773 71 43
Pennsylvania 1,136 614 421 301 722 67 39
Puerto Rico 666 360 180 NA 180 NA 17
Rhode Island 1,025 554 5554 299 853 79 51
South Carolina 969 524 200 313 513 47 18
South Dakota 938 507 430 298 728 67 40
Tennessee 1,079 583 185 313 498 46 17
Texas 1,389 751 188 313 501 46 17
Utah 1,051 568 426 299 725 67 39
Vermont 2,124 1,148 650 232 882 82 60
Virgin Islands 555 300 246 402 642 59 22
Virginia 727 393 354 313 667 62 33
Washington 2,316 1,252 5546 289 835 77 50
West Virginia 1,833 991 253 313 566 52 23
Wisconsin 1,197 647 517 272 789 73 48
Wyoming 1,247 674 360 313 673 62 33
Median AFDC State 720 645 389 310 699 65 36
1In most states these benefit amounts apply also to two-parent families of three (where the second parent is incapacitated or unemployed). Some, however, increase benefits for such families.
2In states with area differentials, figure shown is for area with highest benefit.
3Food stamp benefits are based on maximum AFDC benefits shown and assume deductions of $381 monthly ($134 standard household deduction plus $247 maximum allowable deduction for excess shelter cost) in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. In the remaining four jurisdictions these maximum allowable food stamp deductions are assumed: Alaska, $658, Hawaii, $542, Guam, $569; and Virgin Islands, $300. If only the standard deduction were assumed, food stamp benefits would drop by about $74 monthly in most of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. Maximum food stamp benefits from October 1995 through September 1996 are $313 for a family of three except in these four jurisdictions, where they are as follows: (urban) Alaska, $401; Hawaii, $522; Guam, $461; and Virgin Islands, $402.
4This column is based on the 1996 poverty guideline for a family of three persons in the 48 contiguous states, $12,980, converted to a monthly rate of $1,082. For Alaska, the guideline is $16,220; for Hawaii, $14,930.
5In these states part of the AFDC cash payment has been designated as energy aid and is disregarded by the state in calculating food stamp benefits. Illinois disregards $18. Kansas disregards $57. Maryland disregards $43. New Jersey disregards $25. New York disregards $53. Ohio disregards $14. Oregon disregards $118. Rhode Island disregards $127.85.
Washington disregards $86.
NA—Not available
Note: Puerto Rico does not have a food stamp program; instead a cash nutritional assistance payment is given to recipients.
SOURCE: Congressional Research Service telephone survey of the states

TABLE 7.5
Historic trends in average payment per recipient and per family and maximum and median benefits for a family of four, selected
years, 1970–95

Year
AFDC payments 1970 1975 1980 1985 1987 1989 1991 1992 1993 1995
Average monthly benefit per family $178 $210 $274 $331 $359 $381 $388 $389 $373 $377
In 1995 dollars2 704 601 518 470 484 471 434 423 394 377
Average monthly benefit per person 46 63 94 113 123 131 135 136 131 135
In 1995 dollars2 182 180 178 160 166 162 151 148 138 135
Median State benefit in July for a family unit of four with no income1 221 264 350 399 420 432 435 435 435 435
In 1995 dollars2 874 756 662 566 566 534 487 473 459 435
1Among 50 states and the District of Columbia.
2The constant dollar numbers were calculated using the CPI-U.
Note: AFDC benefit amounts have not been reduced by child support enforcement collections.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Family Support Administration, and the Congressional Research Service

requirements established by the state, such as parental and personal responsibility rules.

Though most states vary benefits according to family size, some eliminate or restrict benefit increases due to the birth of a new child to a recipient already receiving benefits. Instead benefits depend on family size at the time of enrollment in sixteen states. Idaho pays a flat monthly grant that is the same regardless of family size. Wisconsin pays benefits based on work activity of the recipient and not on family size. Five states provide an increase in benefits to TANF families following the birth of an additional child.

TABLE 7.6
Maximum Aid to Families with Dependent Children/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefit for a family of three (parent with two children), July 1970–January 2003

State July 1970 July 1975 July 1980 January 1985 January 1990 January 1995 January 2000 January 2003 % real change from July 1970–January 20031
Alabama $65 $108 $118 $118 $118 $164 $164 $215 −29.0
Alaska 328 350 457 719 846 923 923 923 −39.6
Arizona 138 163 202 233 293 347 347 347 −46.0
Arkansas 89 125 161 192 204 204 204 204 −50.8
California 186 293 473 587 694 607 626 679 −21.7
Colorado 193 217 290 346 356 356 356 356 −60.4
Connecticut 283 346 475 569 649 680 636 636 −51.8
Delaware 160 221 266 287 333 338 338 338 −54.7
District of Columbia 195 243 286 327 409 420 379 379 −58.3
Florida 114 144 195 240 294 303 303 303 −43.0
Georgia 107 123 164 223 273 280 280 280 −43.8
Hawaii 226 428 468 468 602 712 570 570 −46.2
Idaho 211 300 323 304 317 317 293 309 −68.6
Illinois 232 261 288 341 367 377 377 396 −63.4
Indiana 120 200 255 256 288 288 288 288 −48.5
Iowa 201 294 360 360 410 426 426 426 −54.5
Kansas 222 321 345 391 409 429 429 429 −58.5
Kentucky 147 185 188 197 228 288 262 262 −61.7
Louisiana 88 128 152 190 190 190 190 240 −41.5
Maine 135 176 280 370 453 418 461 485 −22.9
Maryland 162 200 270 329 396 373 417 473 −37.3
Massachusetts 268 259 379 432 539 579 565 618 −50.5
Michigan–Washtenaw County NA NA NA 447 546 489 489 489 NA
Michigan–Wayne County 219 333 425 417 516 459 459 459 −55.0
Minnesota 256 330 417 528 532 532 532 532 −55.4
Mississippi 56 48 96 96 120 120 170 170 −34.8
Missouri 104 120 248 274 289 292 292 292 −39.7
Montana 202 201 259 354 359 416 469 507 −46.1
Nebraska 171 210 310 350 364 364 364 364 −54.3
Nevada 121 195 262 285 330 348 348 348 −38.3
New Hampshire 262 308 346 389 506 550 575 625 −48.8
New Jersey 302 310 360 404 424 424 424 424 −69.9
New Mexico 149 169 220 258 264 381 439 389 −43.9
New York–New York City 279 332 394 474 577 577 577 577 −55.6
New York–Suffolk County NA NA NA 579 703 703 703 703 NA
North Carolina 145 183 192 246 272 272 272 272 −59.7
North Dakota 213 283 334 371 386 431 457 477 −51.9
Ohio 131 204 263 290 334 341 373 373 −38.9
Oklahoma 152 217 282 282 325 324 292 292 −58.8
Oregon 184 337 282 386 432 460 460 460 −46.3
Pennsylvania 265 296 332 364 421 421 421 421 −65.9
Rhode Island 229 278 340 409 543 554 554 554 −48.1
South Carolina 85 96 129 187 206 200 204 205 −48.2
South Dakota 264 289 321 329 377 430 430 483 −60.7
Tennessee 112 115 122 153 184 185 185 185 −64.6
Texas 148 116 116 167 184 188 201 201 −70.9
Utah 175 252 360 376 387 426 451 474 −41.9
Vermont 267 322 492 583 662 650 708 709 −43.0
Virginia 225 268 310 354 354 354 354 389 −62.9
Washington 258 315 458 476 501 546 546 546 −54.6
West Virginia 114 206 206 249 249 253 328 453 −14.7
Wisconsin 184 342 444 533 517 517 628 628 −26.7
Wyoming 213 235 315 360 360 360 340 340 −65.7
Note: The inflation factor used to convert July 1970 dollars to January 2003 dollars was 4.659 (representing the change in the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers).
SOURCE: "Table 7-13. Maximum AFDC/TANF Benefit for a Family of Three (Parent with Two Children) July 1970–January 2003," in The Green Book, U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means, 2003 [Online] http://waysandmeans.house.gov/media/pdf/greenbook2003/Section7.pdf [accessed January 28, 2004]

In a comparison of AFDC and TANF maximum benefits for a family of three, the majority of states did not change their maximum benefits between January 1995 and January 2000. When inflation is taken into account, the value of benefits in most states has actually declined. (See Table 7.6.)

Most families receiving TANF benefits are also eligible for food stamps. A single benefit determination is made for both cash and food assistance. Though the eligibility and benefit amounts for TANF are determined by the states, food stamp eligibility and benefit amounts are determined by federal law and are consistent in all states.

Food stamp benefits, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are not counted in determining the TANF cash benefit. However, TANF benefits are considered part of a family's countable income in determining food stamp benefits, which are reduced 30 cents for each dollar of countable income. Therefore, food stamp benefits are higher in states with lower TANF benefits and vice versa. As of January 1, 2003, combined monthly benefits for a family of three were lowest in Mississippi ($525), Puerto Rico ($532), Tennessee ($535), Texas ($546), and Arkansas ($549). Alaska ($1,157) and Hawaii ($1,012) had the highest combined benefit for a family of three. (Poverty guidelines are higher in these two states because of higher costs of living.) Other states that paid the most in benefits included Vermont ($902), California ($881 in region 1), and New York ($898 in Suffolk County). (See Table 7.7.)

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over 3 years ago

how much does a family of three recieve on afdc?

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about 4 years ago

Do California AFDC regulations prevent a felony convicted father from being the payee on his child's AFDC grant?

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about 6 years ago

My wife is an legal immigrant. And sliped on the ice in December.The law says any immigrant can get FREE emergancy help. The hospital said they did not know about it and sent me to Health and Human Services. They said I was $14.00 over wit my Social Securit and not qualifyed. I am 71 and my wife is 62

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almost 4 years ago

hi