Income Assistance



National TANF Data Released: HHS has posted TANF caseload data for the first quarter of FY 2014. In that quarter, there was a monthly average of 1.69 million families receiving TANF/SSP assistance, representing 3.98 million recipients. The average monthly caseload for the first quarter of FY 2014 decreased about 5.4 percent when compared to the average monthly caseload for the first quarter of FY 2013.  Nine TANF jurisdictions had an increase in caseload and forty-five jurisdictions had a decrease compared to the first quarter of FY 2013. Click here to view state-by-state data.


TANF Cash Benefits Continue to Fall: This Center on Budget and Policy Priorities brief includes state-by-state charts and notes that cash assistance benefits for the nation's poorest families with children fell again in purchasing power in 2013 and are now at least 20 percent below their 1996 levels in 37 states, after adjusting for inflation. Last year, just 25 out of every 100 poor families received TANF benefits, down from 68 families receiving TANF for every 100 in poverty in 1996. Page 11 has a state-by-state list of the level of TANF cash benefits over time and page 13 has a similar chart showing the benefit levels as a percentage of the federal poverty level. 


State Drug Tests for TANF Falter: This New York Times story notes that states' drug testing laws for TANF applicants have met with very limited success when enacted. In 2013, another 29 states considered drug testing for people who receive TANF, but only two measures passed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 


TANF Subsidized Jobs Work: This blog from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes that there's new evidence from the Economic Mobility Corporation (EMC) that the Recovery Act's investment in the TANF subsidized jobs program did indeed help disadvantaged individuals during hard economic times to boost their incomes and improve their chances of finding unsubsidized jobs. It notes that 39 states used $1.3 billion from TANF to place more than 260,000 low-income adults and youth in temporary jobs in the private and public sectors during the recession. 


Welfare Databook Released: Last month, HHS published the Welfare Rules Databook: State TANF Policies as of July 2012. The Databook provides researchers and policymakers with substantial information on how the TANF program operates across the states.


TANF and EBT Locations & Requirements: HHS has published additional Q&A's on TANF requirements related to EBT transactions. The updates begin with question #8. 


TANF and Grandfamilies: Because Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) varies from state to state, Generations United's National Center on Grandfamilies released a fact sheet to answer questions from caregivers in general terms that apply no matter where a caregiver lives. This fact sheet also has a chart that includes contact information to get information about the specific TANF program in each state.



Child Support Enforcement


Family-Centered Innovations Improve Child Support Outcomes: Spending positive time with both parents promotes child well-being and is associated with better child support outcomes. Unmarried parents do not have systematic access to assistance in establishing parenting time orders, so state and local child support programs have sought to address this service gap. This fact sheet features states and counties that coordinate the establishment of child support orders and parenting time agreements. Family violence safeguards are always a critical component when addressing parenting time.


Number of Single Fathers Increased Ninefold Since 1960: The Pew Research Center issued this ten page report on the Rise of Single Fathers showing that a record 8% of households with minor children in the United States are headed by a single father, up from just over 1% in 1960. In comparison, the number of single mother households increased more than fourfold during that time period, up to 8.6 million in 2011, from 1.9 million in 1960. 


Single Parenthood facts: This single parent infographic is packed with key facts on the status of single parenthood, including the cost of raising a child, employment and the rise of poverty. It is housed on a website created to be used as a resource for single moms. It has information careers, education, grants, scholarships, help with housing, parenting tips, health and finances. 


Sharp Increase Seen in Out-of-Wedlock Births: Recent statistics released by Census may have a significant impact on social services in the coming years. While teen pregnancy has declined 42% since its peak in 1990 and is now at a nearly 40-year low, according to CDC data -- more than six out of 10 women who give birth in their early 20s are unmarried according to a recent Census Bureau report. Sharp discrepancies in single mothers are shown related to income, education and race. Single motherhood has accelerated in recent years. The birth rate for unmarried women in 2007 was up 80 percent in the almost three decades since 1980. But in the previous five years alone, between 2002 and 2007, it was up 20 percent. Overall, 36 percent of all births in the United States were to unmarried mothers in 2011.


Child Support and 529 Education Accounts: Kansas is promoting savings for postsecondary education by offering a unique 529 plan for noncustodial parents. 529 plans are investment accounts for postsecondary education expenses that may increase in value over time. Contributions to 529 plans may be deducted from income taxes. The Kansas Child Support Services department and Treasurer's Office have teamed up to offer another benefit for contributing to a 529 plan: reduction in child support arrears of double the amount deposited into a 529. Learn more.


Custodial Parents in Poverty: Published by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, this three page report found that 4.2 million custodial parents lived in poverty in 2011, representing 29 percent of all custodial parents, about twice the poverty rate for the total population. For custodial parents with incomes below poverty, the average amount of child support received was $4,503 and their average total yearly income was $8,676. Thus, average child support represented 52 percent of the average income for custodial parents below poverty who received child support, compared with 16 percent for all custodial parents.