Louisiana 225-342-3947 (FITAP (Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program), cash assistance)
Mississippi 1-800-948-4060 (TANF)
The four purposes of TANF are:
assisting needy families so that children can be cared for in their own homes
reducing the dependency of needy parents by promoting job preparation, work and marriage
preventing out-of-wedlock pregnancies
encouraging the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.
Highlights of TANFWork Requirements:
Recipients (with few exceptions) must work as soon as they are job ready or no later than two years after coming on assistance.
Single parents are required to participate in work activities for at least 30 hours per week. Two-parent families must participate in work activities 35 or 55 hours a week, depending upon circumstances.
Failure to participate in work requirements can result in a reduction or termination of benefits to the family.
States cannot penalize single parents with a child under six for failing to meet work requirements if they cannot find adequate child care.
States, in FY 2004, have to ensure that 50 percent of all families and 90 percent of two-parent families are participating in work activities. If a state reduces its caseload, without restricting eligibility, it can receive a caseload reduction credit. This credit reduces the minimum participation rates the state must achieve.
Work Activities –
Activities that count toward a state’s participation rates (some restrictions may apply):
unsubsidized or subsidized employment
job search – not to exceed 6 total weeks and no more than 4 consecutive weeks
vocational training – not to exceed 12 months
job skills training related to work
satisfactory secondary school attendance
providing child care services to individuals who are participating in community service.
Five-Year Time Limit:
Families with an adult who has received federally funded assistance for a total of five years (or less at state option) are not eligible for cash aid under the TANF program.
States may extend assistance beyond 60 months to not more than 20 percent of their caseload. They may also elect to provide assistance to families beyond 60 months using state-only funds or Social Services Block Grants.
State Maintenance of Effort Requirement (MOE):
The TANF block grant has an annual cost-sharing requirement for States, referred to as maintenance of effort or MOE.
Every fiscal year each state must spend a certain minimum amount of its own money to help eligible families in ways consistent with the TANF program.Penalties
Personal Employability Plans:
States must make an initial assessment of a recipient’s skills.
States may develop personal responsibility plans for each recipient to identify the education, training, and job placement services needed to move into the workforce.
Teen Parent Live-at-Home and Stay-in-School Requirement:
Unmarried minor parents must participate in educational and training activities and live with a responsible adult or in an adult-supervised setting in order to receive assistance.
States are responsible for assisting in locating adult-supervised settings for teens who can not live at home.
The law allows States to create jobs by taking money that is now used for welfare checks and using it to create community service jobs, provide income subsidies, or provide hiring incentives for potential employers.Waivers:
States that received approval for welfare reform waivers before January 1, 1997, have the option to operate their cash assistance program under some or all of these waivers until the waivers expire.
The law includes provisions for two bonuses that may be awarded to States and territories in addition to their basic TANF block grant.
TANF’s High Performance Bonus program provides cash awards to States for high relative achievement on certain measures related to the goals and purposes of the TANF program.
The Department of Health and Human Services is required to award a Bonus to Reward Decrease in Illegitimacy Ratio to as many as five States (and three territories, if eligible) that achieve the largest decrease in out-of-wedlock births without experiencing an increase in their abortion rates above 1995 levels.