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Q & A: Claims Resolution Act of 2010

Claims Resolution Act of 2010 - Reporting Requirements

Published: June 27, 2011
Audience:
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Topics:
Claims Resolution Act, Data Collection and Reporting
Types:
Q&A
Tags:
TANF Program Policy Questions and Answers

Claims Resolution Act of 2010 - Reporting Requirements

 

TANF Detailed Expenditure Form: ACF-196 Supplement

Q1: How should a State record expenditures for the ACF-196 (SUP) if the funding for a specific category is paid for through a contract that is established to provide services both during and outside of the March 1 to June 30 reporting periods?

A1: A State should include expenditures on the ACF-196 (SUP) that were incurred in the time period for the respective report. This means if a contract has been set up to provide services in one category, as those services are provided and invoiced to the State, only those expenditures which were invoiced in the March 1- 31 or April 1 –June 30 report periods should be reported.

Q2: How should a State differentiate between expenditure categories, for example, if child welfare expenditures are also used to pay for health and disability expenditures?

A2: A State should pick the most relevant category and provide ample description in Part 2 of the ACF-196 (SUP) so that the intent of the reporting can be understood.

Q3: If 6L, Non Assistance Authorized Solely Under Prior Law, if fully expended for a State in the first quarter of the year, does ACF expect that the State will provide 1/12th of the funding in the March report and 3/12ths in the April through June report?

A3: No. States are expected to provide expenditures related to contracts as the services are provided by the contractor. States should report only those expenditures which were invoiced in the March 1- 31 or April 1 –June 30 report periods.

Q4: Under the regular ACF-196 reporting, the State previously included State funded Tribal TANF MOE in the "other" expenditure category (in addition to all other expenditures the State categorized as "other.") It did not report the specific Tribal TANF work activities that were attributable to this portion of the "other" expenditures they were reporting, because it was not required.

The new instruction requests that the State provide details as to what specific expenditures and activities are being reported in the ACF 196 under the category of "other."

With respect to the new requirement, the State would like to know if it may simply separately identify and report the portion of those expenditures reported under "other" that are attributable to State funded Tribal TANF MOE. Or should the State contact the Tribes to request information on the specific activities for which the Tribes are using the State MOE, so that they can report those specific activities under the new requirement?

A4: Some States provide MOE grants to each and every Tribal TANF entity in the State. These MOE grants are based on conditions specified in agreements between the State and Tribal TANF entity. Furthermore, that State may not always track these expenditures. Our guidance is to allow States to report these MOE expenditures on the ACF-196 (SUP) under "additional expenditures" (line 1o), and identify it as "State Funded Tribal MOE."

 

Report on Engagement in Additional Work Activities: Form ACF-812

Q1:  The legislation specifies that while the initial report is due by May 31st, the Secretary is directed to waive a penalty if the State’s report is submitted by June 15.  Does that mean that States need only submit their reports by June 15th?  

A1:  Under the legislation, the Secretary is directed to impose a penalty for the immediately succeeding fiscal year of up to 4 percent of the State’s family assistance grant if the State has not submitted its report by May 31st, but the Secretary is also directed to waive the penalty if the report is submitted by June 15th.  Note, however, that the Secretary is required to submit a report to Congress by June 30 concerning the data provided by States for the month of March.  Accordingly, OFA urges States to submit their data as soon as possible, but not later than May 31st.    If the State has corrections to the May submission, it should submit them no later than June 15th.

Q2:  The legislation directs that an analysis of this data was supposed to be prepared and published on an ACF-approved website concurrent with submission of each report.  The Program Instruction doesn’t address this requirement – has this been waived?  Do States still have to do this?

A2:  We encourage States to provide their data to us as quickly as possible.  Their analysis/narrative will be considered to be concurrently posted as long as it is posted no later than the last date for which the State will qualify for rescission of a penalty by submission of its data to us, i.e., June 15 for the initial report and September 15 for the subsequent one.  The statute requires publication either on a website maintained by the TANF State agency or on another State-maintained website approved by the Secretary.  Thus if the State chooses to publish on the TANF State agency site, no Federal approval of that decision is required.

Q3:  Are we correct in understanding that we report for all work-eligible individuals?

A3:  Yes, report for all work-eligible individuals.  Do not report for individuals who are not work-eligible.

Q4:  If two parents are in the home and only one parent is work-eligible do we send information on both parents, or only send information on the work-eligible parent.  Are we to send information on individuals receiving SSI if they are a parent in the home with a work-eligible individual? 

A4:  The statute directs States to provide information only on work-eligible individuals.  The second parent, who is not a work-eligible individual, should not be included.  States have the option to include or exclude SSI recipients as work-eligible individuals.   If the State does not identify the SSI recipient as a work-eligible individual, then the State should not include the SSI recipient.  However, if the State identifies the SSI recipient as a work-eligible individual, then the State must report information for the SSI recipient.

Q5:  We are still unclear on #12, which states that we are to report on work-eligible individuals who participated in a countable work activity but the State did not report hours on the TANF data report because the State could not meet the Federal verification standards for including the hours of participation in the report.  It might be helpful if we could get an example.

A5:   This would be a countable activity in which the State is reasonably certain that the individual actually participated, but the State does not have sufficient documentation to meet the Federal verification standards.

Q6:  Since the State currently reports on the entire caseload and both reports will be completed on the entire caseload, do we need to enter our entire caseload in 6A or will we leave this blank.  The instructions don’t address our situation.

A6: For a State that submits the Report on Engagement for its entire caseload, the State should leave data elements 6.A. and 6.B. blank.

Q7:  When will the file layout be available and at what link can it be accessed?

A7:  The transmission file layout and basic edits were posted on the OFA website on February 25, 2011 as TANF-ACF-IM-2011-02.

Q8:  Both the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 and the Background section of TANF-ACF-PI-2011-03 refer to a new requirement for states to report countable activities/hours with respect to situations where “the number of work-eligible individuals engaged in such activity exceeds a statutory limit.”  However, the actual instructions for completing the new report do not address this situation.  Data element 10 deals with the statutory limit on the number of hours of participation and specifically states that any limit on the number of individuals participating is not relevant to this data element.  There is no data element or corresponding instructions regarding statutory limits on the number of individuals.  Are states required to report under this category separate from those specifically addressed in the instructions for completing the report form, and if so, what are the requirements/procedures for doing so?

A8: Data element #11 deals with hours beyond the statutory limits.  States are to complete this data element for each work-eligible individual.  By summing across all work-eligible individuals with hours beyond the statutory limits we will be able to determine the number of work-eligible individuals with hours beyond the limit.

Q9:  To what extent are States required to “collect” data not currently being collected as opposed to reporting data that the States have been collecting but not reporting or not reporting as required by the new report?  Can States comply with the reporting requirements utilizing only that data that is currently collected? 

A9: The statute requires that that this data be reported. It is reasonable for a State to collect information on activities for which the State is aware.  For example, a State knows a work-eligible individual is attending post secondary education, but does not know how many hours the work-eligible individual is participating.  The State must report the information.  It may be necessary to contact the individual to find out the number of hours of participation.

Q10:  Clarify when activities/hours should be reported under data element 9 rather than other data elements that could also apply.

A10:  In data element 9, the State reports countable work activities that are not reported on the TANF Data Report or the SSP-MOE Data Report.  To the extent that the hours could also be reported under data elements 10, 11, or 12, the State should decide under which data element it wants to report the hours and report the hours under only one data element.

Q11:  Under data element 9, does “unreported” mean that the hours were not reported at all on the TANF Data Report, or were not reported under countable activities?  Some States have been reporting hours from countable activities as “Other” on the TANF Data Report for the reasons indicated by other data elements.

A11:  For data element 9 “not reported” means not reported at all on the TANF Data Report.  If hours were reported under “Other,” use data elements 10 or 11, whichever is applicable.

Q12:  Please confirm – the TANF Data Report requires States to report average weekly hours while the new report required actual monthly hours?

A12: Yes, we are asking States to report total hours of participation for the report month for the Report on Engagement, because that is the information required by statute.

Q13:  If all of a State’s SSP cases that receive “assistance” also receive TANF assistance:  Does data element 5 need to specify on an individual basis whether the person received both TANF and SSP assistance or can individuals just be coded a “1”?  If a State is reporting for its entire caseload rather than a sample in this situation, how is item 6 completed?  Including the same case in both the TANF and SSP count results in a duplicated count for the total caseload.  

A13:  Iowa is the only State where this occurs.  Iowa should not code any family as SSP families to eliminate any possibility of duplicate reporting. If the TANF family has a work-eligible individual who is receiving SSP assistance, then data element 5 should be coded with a ‘3’ for the family.

Q14.  Can a State leave data element 12 blank for all individuals?  It’s unlikely that States are currently collecting information on hours in countable activities that do not meet verification/documentation requirements.  If States are not currently collecting such data are they required to?

A14:   States must report this data element.  This would be a countable activity in which the State is reasonably certain that the individual actually participated, but the State does not have sufficient documentation to meet the Federal verification standards.

Q15:  Data element 13 – can a State limit reporting to those non-countable activities for which it is already collecting information by taking the position that only those activities for which it is collecting information meet the criteria of helping move families to self-sufficiency?

A15: The statute expressly requires that States report on activities directed toward attaining self-sufficiency but that do not count as qualified work activities.   Data element 13 is an opportunity for States to show they are engaging their clients in activities that move the family toward self-sufficiency even though the activities do not count toward meeting the participation rate.

Q16:  Data element 13 – several of the choices are also countable activities, clarify under what circumstances a countable activity would be reported under this data element rather than an earlier category.

A16:   Some activities are countable under certain circumstances and not countable under other circumstance.  If the activity is countable under its current circumstance, report the hours under data elements 9 through 12, whichever is most applicable.  If, under the circumstance, it is not countable, then report the activity under 13.  

Q17:  Data element 10 – clarify/confirm, States would report hours already being reported in the TANF Data Report; e.g., if an individual had 8 hours of unsubsidized employment which is already reported as such on the TANF Data Report, the State would report those hours on the new report as well under this data element?

A17: Yes.

Q18:  Data element 14 – States do not currently capture this data with respect to many of the options listed.  Due to other reporting requirements or policy applications, States may capture some data related to some of the options; e.g., families disregarded from participation rate.  Are States required/expected to begin collecting data with respect to each option?

A18: Data element 14 asks the principal reason why the work-eligible individual had zero hours of participation.  If the State does not already have this information, the State needs to take appropriate action to obtain it. 

Q19:  For those data elements having an “Other” option requiring a narrative description, what are the parameters for these fields – field length, allowable characters, etc.

A19: The transmission file layouts were transmitted with TANF-ACF-IM-2011-02.  For the Other categories in data elements 13 and 14, we have provided a field length of 40 characters to specify the activity moving the family toward self-sufficiency and 40 characters for the principal reason for zero hours.

Q20:  On Form ACF- 812, data element 6 - Since we currently report on entire caseload and we are going to complete these 2 reports on entire caseload, do we need to enter our entire caseload in data element 6A or will we leave this blank?

A20:  For States that submit the Report on Engagement for the entire caseload, leave data element 6A blank.

Q21:  In the Background section of TANF-ACF-PI-2011-03, the instruction specifies: “The report must be submitted for two reporting periods.”  Does this mean we will only be reporting this information for these two time periods?  Or, is this going to be an ongoing requirement?   Is this report to be included with TANF federal reporting or kept as a separate report, i.e. TANF federal report and an Engagement in Additional Work Activities report?

A21: Under the current statute, States will be submitting this report for only two reporting periods, for March and for April-June.  The reports will be filed on a separate system, i.e., not part of the TANF Data Report.  The transmission file layouts were posted on our website on February 25 as TANF-ACF-IM-2011-02.