TANF-ACF-PI-2003-04 (Guidance for the Resolution of State and Tribal Disagreements over the State-submitted Caseload and Expenditure Data Used to Establish the Amount of a Tribal Family Assistance Grant)
States and Indian Tribes submitting Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) plans and other interested parties.
Guidance for the Resolution of State and Tribal Disagreements over the State-submitted Caseload and Expenditure Data Used to Establish the Amount of a Tribal Family Assistance Grant.
To establish a standard procedure for resolving disagreements over state-submitted caseload and expenditure data used to establish the amount of a Tribal Family Assistance Grant.
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-193); Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (Pub. L. 105-33); Title VIII of H.R. 3424, the Welfare to Work and Child Support Amendments of 1999 (Consolidated Omnibus Appropriations Act for FY 2000, Pub. L. 106-113); Final Tribal TANF Rules (45 CFR Part 286 et seq.).
The Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) regulations, closely following the language of the statute at 42 USC 612, et seq., provide that the annual amount of a Tribal Family Assistance Grant (TFAG) will be determined using caseload and expenditure data reported by the State (or States, if the service area is located in more than one State), for Indian families in the service area(s) identified by the Tribe(s) proposing to administer TANF. They further provide that should there be any disagreement by the Tribe(s) with the state-provided data, the Tribe(s) may submit for consideration any information they believe relevant to support different data.
45 CFR 286.20, How is the amount of a Tribal Family Assistance Grant (TFAG) determined?, provides that in order to determine the amount of a TFAG "…[w]e will request and use data submitted by a State to determine the amount of a TFAG. The State data that we will request and use are the total Federal payments attributable to State expenditures, including administrative costs (which includes systems costs) for fiscal year 1994 under the former Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Emergency Assistance and Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training programs, for all Indian families residing in the geographic service area or areas identified in the Tribe’s letter of intent or Tribal Family Assistance Plan."
This section further provides that, "…[w]e will share the data submitted by the State…with the Tribe. The Tribe must submit to the Secretary a notice as to the Tribe’s agreement or disagreement with such data no later than 45 days after the date of our notice transmitting the data from the State.
During this 45-day period we will help resolve any questions the Tribe may have about the State-submitted data."
In order to begin the process, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) will request the caseload and expenditure data from the State within 5 days of receipt of a Letter of Intent that clearly identifies a proposed service area from a Tribe or tribal organization. We will ask the State to submit the data directly to the Tribe, the Division of Tribal TANF Management (DTTM), and the appropriate regional office.
As provided by the regulations at 45 CFR 286.20(a)(2)(i) and (ii), the State has 30 days from the date of the request (from ACF) to submit the necessary data. If the State fails to submit the data by the end of the 30-day period, we will notify the Tribe, and the Tribe will have 45 days from the date of notification to submit relevant data. In such case, ACF will use the data submitted by the Tribe to assist us in determining the amount of the TFAG.
We will encourage the State and the Tribe to include, with the data submitted, information explaining how each derived their figures.
If the State submits the data as requested and the Tribe agrees with the State-submitted data, the process is completed, and, subject to approval of a Tribal Family Assistance Plan, the data will become the basis for annual funding of the TFAG.
However, if the Tribe disagrees with the State-submitted data, it will be encouraged to, and may, enter into negotiations with the State. Should negotiations ensue, ACF, through the appropriate regional office and the Division of Tribal TANF Management (DTTM), while not a direct party to the negotiations, will work with the State and Tribe to assist in their negotiations. The State and Tribe may share any information they believe relevant to establishing or justifying their data. They may agree to any formula or estimating procedure that is mutually acceptable for establishing caseload and/or expenditure data that will be used for determining the grant amount.
At any time that both parties agree on a determination of caseload and expenditure data and the base funding for the TFAG, the negotiation process is concluded. Both parties must notify ACF in writing of their agreement, and ACF will accept the mutually agreed-upon data.
Based on a general acknowledgment that historical Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) data represent a significant undercount regarding American Indian and Alaska Native caseloads, a State may voluntarily adjust the amount of the funding for a TFAG by adjusting the base caseload figure to be used as the basis for determination of the grant.
If agreement cannot be reached, the Tribe may invoke the provisions of 45 CFR 286.25.
45 CFR 286.25, How will we resolve disagreements over the State-submitted data used to determine the amount of a Tribal Family Assistance Grant?, provides that, "…[i]f a Tribe disagrees with the data submitted by a State, the Tribe may submit additional relevant information to the Secretary. Relevant information may include, but is not be limited to, Census Bureau data, data from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, data from other Federal programs, and Tribal records."
It further provides that, "…[t]he Tribe must submit any relevant information within 45 days from the date it notifies the Secretary of its disagreement with State submitted data under Sec. 286.20(b)"; "…[w]e will review the additional relevant information submitted by the Tribe, together with the State-submitted data, in order to make a determination as to the amount of the TFAG"; and "…[w]e will determine the amount of the TFAG at the earliest possible date after consideration of all relevant data."
In order to accomplish these steps in an orderly, expeditious, and equitable manner, the following process is established.
The Caseload and Expenditure Determination Process
I. State-provided Data:
- Upon receipt of the State-provided caseload and expenditure data, ACF will verify that the data has been provided to the Tribe(s). If necessary, ACF will provide the data to the Tribe(s).
- Generally, DTTM compares the State-provided data with historical information. If the review raises any questions, the data will be provided to both the State and Tribe.
- If the Tribe agrees with the data, the Tribe must notify ACF in writing and the process will be deemed complete. The data agreed upon by the State and the Tribe will be used as the basis for determining the annual amount of the TFAG.
II. Notification of Disagreement and Negotiation Process:
- If the Tribe disagrees with the State data, the Tribe must notify ACF within 45 days of receipt of the data.
- ACF will encourage the Tribe and the State to engage in negotiations. If they agree to do so, ACF will do whatever possible to facilitate the negotiations. ACF may be called upon by either party to the negotiations to facilitate, observe, and provide technical assistance or information as necessary.
- If the Tribe and State do engage in negotiations, the time limits on further notifications or submission of information will be suspended pending the outcome of the negotiation process.
- If, at any time during the negotiation process, both parties reach agreement, the process may be concluded, and the agreed-upon data, together with written evidence of concurrence by both parties, provided to ACF.
- If the parties fail to reach an agreement on the data and find themselves at an impasse, the Tribe must notify ACF in writing within 15 days of the determination that further negotiations would be fruitless.
- The Tribe will than have 45 days from the date of the notification to ACF to submit relevant information. As provided for in the regulations, "[t]his information may include, but is not limited to, Census Bureau data, data from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, data from other Federal programs, and Tribal records."
III. Secretary’s Determination:
- ACF will use the provided data and information provided by the State and Tribe to make a determination of the TFAG amount. If data or information submitted by either party is unclear or inconsistent or needs clarification or additional support, ACF may require that the State and/or Tribe submit additional documentation or justification. ACF may provide any data received or developed to either or both parties for review.
- ACF may accept information and or clarification or supporting evidence in writing or through oral presentation.
- ACF will provide both parties with a copy of its preliminary determination. If either party disagrees with the finding, it may request that ACF reconsider its decision. The request for reconsideration must be submitted in writing (fax or electronic mail will suffice) within 15 days of receipt of the decision. In the event of such an appeal, all parties will be given an opportunity to provide additional information and/or clarification, or supporting evidence in writing or through oral presentation.
- ACF staff will review the data and information provided and will submit a recommendation to the Assistant Secretary, who will make the final determination.
- ACF will notify the State and Tribe of the final determination in writing as soon as possible.
Upon receipt of a Letter of Intent to administer a TANF program or a plan from a Tribe, or eligible Tribal organization, the appropriate Regional Administrator will provide a copy of this document to the Tribe, or organization, and affected State.
Inquiries should be directed to the appropriate Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Regional Administrator or the Director of the Division of Tribal TANF Management/Office of Family Assistance.
Andrew S. Bush
Office of Family Assistance