Replaces the current Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) programs under parts A and F of title IV of the Social Security Act (SSA) (and terminates current entitlements to any benefits or services under them effective October 1, 1996) with a single, combined program under part A of block grants during FY 1996 through 2002 to eligible States with Federal-approved plans for temporary assistance (TANF) to eligible needy families with a minor child.
Eliminates AFDC transitional and at-risk child care programs.
Provides for 75 percent matching grants to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa, and makes appropriations for them.
Places such new block grant program under the present administrative authority of an Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) for Family Support. Requires State TANF programs to include certain mandatory work- (public or private, subsidized or unsubsidized), education-, and job-related activities, including job training and job search, for the purpose of:
(1) providing such families with time-limited assistance in order to end their dependency on government benefits and achieve self-sufficiency;
(2) preventing and reducing out-of-wedlock pregnancies, especially teenage ones; and
(3) encouraging the formulation and maintenance of two-parent families.
Retains the former AFDC purpose of providing assistance so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives.
Prescribes State TANF plan general requirements, including annual numeric goals for reducing illegitimacy in the State between 1996 and 2005, while allowing a State to determine how to meet such requirements.
Requires a State to certify that, among other things, it will:
(1) operate an appropriate child support enforcement program and a foster care and adoption assistance program;
(2) provide Indians with equitable access to assistance; and
(3) establish and enforce standards and procedures to ensure against program fraud and abuse.
Authorizes a State to further certify that it will screen for and identify TANF recipients with a history of domestic violence, and refers them to counseling and supportive services.
Mandates plan contents requiring:
(1) a parent or caretaker receiving TANF to engage in State-defined work once the State determines such recipient is either ready to do so or has received assistance for 24 months (two years), whether or not consecutive, whichever is earlier; and
(2) a State statutory rape training program outline for law enforcement and other applicable personnel in order to provide for expanded teenage pregnancy prevention programs including men.
Permits States to decide in their TANF plans:
(1) whether or not they intend to provide TANF assistance to aliens; and
(2) how to treat families moving interstate (allowing them, under grant-related provisions below, to impose the program rules and benefit levels of the State from which the family moved if they have lived in the State for fewer than 12 months).
Requires a State (as under current law) to explain how it will provide opportunities for adversely affected recipients to be heard in a State administrative or appeal process.
Eliminates formal requirements (under the current JOBS program) for dispute resolution procedures for such matters, including separate conciliation procedures.
Authorizes States to use block grants:
(1) in any manner reasonably calculated to accomplish TANF purposes; or
(2) in any manner that the State was authorized to use funds received under the former AFDC and JOBS programs.
Requires an initial assessment of a recipient's skills, prior work experience, and employability that is performed by the applicable State agency in order to gauge the level of support needed for the recipient to achieve self-sufficiency.
Provides that in return, at the State's option, such recipients may agree to satisfy certain obligations (such as immunizing their children or attending parenting and money management classes) set forth in any individual responsibility plan (IRP) executed in consultation with the State, in addition to the required program activities outlined below, in order to help the individual become and remain employed in the private sector.
Requires IRPs to describe the services that the State will provide to enable the individual to obtain and keep such employment.
Allows such IRPs to include requirements for appropriate substance abuse treatment.
Sets forth formulae for computing specific State grant amounts.
Provides for child and medical care needs of individual family members on TANF at work or engaged in other required program activities.
Authorizes a State to use Federal family assistance grant amounts under its TANF program for:
(1) providing prepregnancy family planning services (while denying their use for medical services generally);
(2) covering home heating and cooling costs for TANF-eligible families with low income;
(3) carrying out a State child care program under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 for family members with children that are required to engage in program activities (in lieu of the child care previously provided under the former AFDC child care programs);
(4) carrying out a State social services program;
(5) funding development accounts of individual TANF-eligible family members in order to help them accumulate funds for first home purchase and other qualified purposes; and
(6) make payments (or provide vouchers) to State-approved public and private job placement agencies that provide employment placement services to individual TANF recipients (currently under the JOBS program State agencies are authorized to carry out a program of job search for individual JOBS program participants).
Encourages States receiving family assistance grants to use them to implement an electronic TANF benefit transfer system.
Limits eligible families generally to no more than 60 months (five years), consecutive or nonconsecutive, of TANF, with certain exceptions for hardship situations, minor children, or family members that have been battered or subject to extreme cruelty, including mental abuse.
Provides for continuation of waivers of State AFDC requirements granted by the HHS Secretary before enactment of this Act (or, if applied for before enactment, approved before July 1, 1997) to carry out certain experimental, pilot, or demonstration (welfare reform) projects.
Denies TANF assistance in cases:
(1) where an individual family member is a fugitive felon or a probation or parole violator; and
(2) where unmarried teenage parents with a minor child at least 12 weeks of age in their care do not attend high school or other equivalent training program.
Provides for suspension of cash TANF assistance for ten years to an individual family member found to have fraudulently misrepresented residence in order to obtain TANF, Medicaid (SSA title XIX), food stamp, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (SSA title XVI) assistance in two or more States. Requires States with approved Medicaid plans and receiving family assistance grants to provide medical assistance to certain families that would otherwise become ineligible for AFDC or TANF assistance because of earnings from employment or child or spousal support.
Requires, in addition, certain adult-supervised living arrangements for unmarried teenage parents in order for them to receive TANF. Provides for additional grants to States as bonus rewards for reductions in illegitimate births and for high performance under the TANF program, as well as supplemental grants to certain States for population increases.
Provides a Contingency Fund for State Welfare Programs in the Treasury for payments to eligible needy States and the District of Columbia. Makes necessary appropriations for such grants and the Contingency Fund. Sets up a Federal loan program for State TANF programs for anti-fraud and other specified activities, and makes necessary appropriations.
Outlines required TANF program activities (similar to current JOBS program activities) for TANF recipients to attain self-sufficiency through mandatory participation in, among other activities, community service programs, vocational educational training, and in programs for refurbishing public housing and providing child care services for community service program participants.
Requires that education, as a TANF program activity, be directly related to employment in the case of a recipient who has not received a high school diploma or equivalency certificate (as opposed to current educational activities under JOBS which include basic and remedial education to achieve a basic literacy level).
Limits the number of weeks for which job searching counts as work.
Deems a single parent with a child under age six to be meeting work requirements if engaged in work for 20 hours per week.
Grants States the option of not requiring a single custodial parent caring for a child who has not attained 12 months of age to engage in work.
Sets forth various requirements with respect to Indians and Alaskan Natives, including those for determining the number of months for which an adult Indian or Alaskan Native shall receive TANF assistance if such adult lived on a reservation or in a native village.
Provides for direct funding for FY 1997 through 2000, by way of three-year tribal family assistance grants, to Indian tribes with approved plans for the purpose of operating their own welfare programs with similar work requirements and time limits for receipt of welfare-related services.
Prescribes a special rule for Indian tribes in Alaska. Makes available other grants for Indian tribes that conducted JOBS programs in FY 1995 in order for them to make work activities available to tribal members.
Makes necessary appropriations.
Established penalties for States and individual families for specified grant and program violations, respectively, including individual noncompliance with any IRP provisions, through reduced grants and assistance payments.
Allows States to terminate such payments outright to certain individual family members without small children needing child care who refuse to:
(1) engage in required program activities; or
(2) cooperate with the State in establishing paternity or obtaining child support unless the member qualifies for a good cause or other specified exception.
Provides for a separate reduction in State family assistance grant payments for States failing to comply with Federal paternity establishment and child support enforcement requirements, and for failure to timely repay a Federal loan fund for State welfare programs under the Federal loan program set up below.
Provides for enhanced penalties for intentional violations.
Includes provisions for corrective compliance plans under which States may be notified of a pending penalty and be afforded the opportunity of correcting the matter giving rise to such sanction.
Declares that States receiving family assistance grants shall not be prohibited from sanctioning a family that includes an adult who:
(1) has received TANF or food stamp assistance if such adult fails to ensure that his or her minor dependent children attend school as required by applicable State law; and
(3) is between age 20 and 51 and has received such assistance if such adult does not have, or is not working toward attaining, a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent (unless he or she is determined to lack the requisite capacity to attain such credentials).
Sets forth the mechanism for State appeal of Federal adverse decisions on State plans or of penalties, providing for advance notification of any program violation and the opportunity for a State to correct it before any such penalty is imposed.
Limits to 25 percent the amount of any penalty reduction in the State's quarterly family assistance grant payment.
Provides for the exchange of certain TANF program information with law enforcement under specified conditions.
Details miscellaneous TANF plan and family assistance grant administrative matters, including confidentiality protections for TANF recipients, limitations on the use of grants for administrative purposes, and payment of grant funds in quarterly installments.
Expresses the sense of the Congress that State TANF programs:
(1) are encouraged to assign the highest priority to requiring adults in two-parent families and in single-parent families with older preschool or school-age children to be engaged in work activities; and
(2) should require noncustodial, nonsupporting parents under age 18 to fulfill community work obligations and attend appropriate parenting or money management classes after school.
Outlines specific program data collection and reporting requirements, as well as certain research, evaluation, and study requirements.
Requires the Secretary annually to rank the States receiving family assistance grants according to their successes under the TANF program with regard to certain categories, including their success in placing TANF recipients into long-term private sector jobs and lowering out-of-wedlock births.
Authorizes the HHS Secretary to implement and evaluate demonstrations of innovative and promising strategies which:
(1) provide one-time capital funds to establish, expand, or replicate programs;
(2) test performance-based grant-to-loan financing in which programs meeting performance targets receive grants while programs not meeting such targets repay funding on a prorated basis; and
(3) test strategies in multiple States and types of communities.
Establishes a mechanism for ensuring that increased child poverty rates attributable to this title are addressed via corrective action by the State involved in a plan submitted to the HHS Secretary. Directs the Bureau of the Census to continue to collect data on the 1992 and 1993 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation as necessary to obtain such information as will enable interested persons to evaluate the impact of the changes made by this title on a random national sample of recipients of assistance under State TANF programs.
Provides for the treatment of existing State AFDC (welfare reform) waiver projects in effect on the date of enactment of this Act, and those under waivers granted subsequently.
Gives States the option of terminating waivers before their expiration.
Directs the HHS Secretary to encourage any State operating a waiver project to continue the waiver and to evaluate its result or effect.
Declares that, beginning with FY 1996, a State operating a waiver project shall be entitled to payment through family assistance and other TANF grants for the fiscal year involved in lieu of any other payment provided for in the waiver.
Directs the HHS Secretary to reduce the Federal workforce within HHS by 75 percent of the number of positions that relate to direct spending programs and programs funded by spending that is converted to block grants, and take necessary action, including reductions in force, to reduce the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) positions within HHS by 245 FTE positions related to the program converted into TANF block grants, and by 60 FTE managerial positions at HHS.