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TANF Policy, Services, and Benefits

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is administered by the Office of Family Assistance within the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. TANF was created by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA). The program provides temporary financial assistance while aiming to get people off assistance, primarily through employment. In 2005, changes were enacted to the TANF program under the Deficit Reduction Act that changed the caseload credit and, in essence, increased the proportion of TANF participants who must participate in work activities for a specified number of hours each week.

Efforts have been made at the Federal and State level to improve TANF programs and services by focusing on increasing engagement of TANF participants to meet the employment requirements of TANF, while providing comprehensive employment support services to TANF families. The TANF Policy, Services, and Benefits section provides access to this research and other resources relating to TANF policies and services.

View recommendations from the SSRC Librarian on TANF Policy, Services, and Benefits and relevant Federal laws and regulations below. 


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Research on TANF frequently focuses on diversion and emergency assistance, sanctions (or policies which prohibit an individual from participating in TANF if they fail to comply with program requirements), caseload size and composition, TANF child-only cases, time limits for participating in TANF, and work requirements. Click the phrases below to view selected research and resources relevant to each topic and self-sufficiency.

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Federal laws and regulations establish a framework which guides the design and administration of state and local Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs. Click the first link below to view legislative resources specific to TANF. Click the second link to view regulatory resources specific to TANF. Click the third link to browse additional self-sufficiency legislation and policy in the SSRC library.