Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: A Primer on TANF Financing and Federal Requirements [December 14, 2017] [open pdf - 870KB]
"The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant provides federal grants to the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the territories, and American Indian tribes 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). At the federal level, TANF is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). TANF provides a basic block grant that totals $16.5 billion. It also requires states to contribute in the aggregate from their own funds at least $10.3 billion for benefits and services to needy families with children--this is known as the maintenance-of-effort (MOE) requirement. TANF and MOE funds may be used in any manner 'reasonably calculated' to achieve TANF's statutory purpose. This purpose is to increase state flexibility to achieve four goals: (1) provide assistance to needy families with children so that they can live in their own homes or the homes of relatives; (2) end dependence of needy parents on government benefits through work, job preparation, and marriage; (3) reduce out-of-wedlock pregnancies; and (4) promote the formation and maintenance of two-parent families."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32748
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html