The Circumstances of Families after Time Limits

Oct 2012 |
Online Library
Adults and Children Terminated from TANF in February 2011

Federal law prohibits states from using TANF block grant funds to provide assistance to most families in which an adult is included in the TANF cash grant for longer than 60 months. States are allowed flexibility in designing time limit policies. They can adopt a shorter time limit, exempt certain categories of recipients from the time limit, or grant extensions of benefits to certain families that reach the time limit. Due to fiscal constraints, the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) narrowed qualifications for TANF time limit extensions in February 2011. With this change, fewer families in the state were eligible for continued TANF cash benefits after 60 months. In January 2012, DSHS conducted a ‘first look’ analysis of the circumstances of the families affected by the change in time limit policy. The earlier analysis focused on about 13,000 children and adults who were terminated from TANF due to time limits in February 2011 and did not return to TANF through November 2011 – looking at Basic Food receipt, enrollment in medical assistance, self-reported homelessness and subsidized housing receipt, and receipt of emergency housing assistance. This update looks at the circumstances of these families and children through June 2012 (16 months after they left TANF due to the time limit) and expands analyses to include child welfare involvement.

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