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TANF-ACF-PA-2009-01 (The Emergency Fund for TANF Programs)

Published: April 3, 2009
Audience:
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Topics:
Data Collection and Reporting
Types:
Policy Announcements (PA)
Tags:
TANF Emergency Fund

 

Attachment B

 

Definitions of Terms Cited in the TANF Emergency Fund Statute


The statute uses terminology already defined in regulations or various reporting instruments (i.e., the TANF Financial Report (ACF-196), the TANF Data Report (ACF-199), and the SSP-MOE Data Report (ACF-209), the Territorial Financial Report (ACF-196TR), and the Tribal Financial Reports (SF-269A, ACF-196T, or ACF-102-477 Financial Report 12g)). We anticipate that jurisdictions will submit information in accordance with these definitions.

Assistance caseload: This means the average monthly number of TANF and SSP-MOE cases receiving “assistance.” Consistent with 45 CFR 260.31(a) and 45 CFR 286.10(a), “assistance” includes cash, payments, vouchers, and other forms of benefits designed to meet a family's ongoing basic needs (i.e., for food, clothing, shelter, utilities, household goods, personal care items, and general incidental expenses). It includes such benefits even when they are provided in the form of payments by a TANF agency, or other agency on its behalf, to individual recipients and are conditioned on their participation in work experience or community service (or any other TANF work activity). It also includes supportive services such as transportation and child care provided to families who are not employed.

Basic assistance: Consistent with 45 CFR 260.31(a)(1) and (2), and with 45 CFR 286.10(a)(1), basic assistance means cash, payments, vouchers, and other forms of benefits designed to meet a family's ongoing basic needs (i.e., for food, clothing, shelter, utilities, household goods, personal care items, and general incidental expenses). It includes such benefits even when they are provided in the form of payments by a TANF agency, or other agency on its behalf, to individual recipients, and when they are conditioned on participation in work experience or community service (or any other work activity).

This is the same definition that the ACF-196 (line 5a) uses; it is not assistance that would be reported on line 5b, 5c, or 5d of the ACF-196 (child care, transportation or other supportive services, or assistance authorized solely under prior law, if it is not basic assistance.) It can include benefits regardless of whether the parent is working or the benefit is provided in what the jurisdiction considers its basic TANF program or in another program that serves a particular subgroup of families or a particular purpose (e.g., an earnings supplement program).

Non-recurrent short-term benefits: Consistent with the definition at 45 CFR 260.31(b)(1) and 45 CFR 286.10(b)(1), non-recurrent short-term benefits means benefits designed to deal with a specific crisis situation or episode of need, that are not intended to meet recurrent or ongoing needs, and that will not extend beyond four months. This is the same definition that the ACF-196 (line 6g) uses.

Note that these benefits include those provided directly to a family and those paid to others on behalf of the family, such as a payment to a landlord. Both families receiving other forms of “assistance” and families that do not otherwise receive ongoing assistance may receive non-recurrent short-term benefits.

Subsidized employment: There is no expenditure category called “subsidized employment” but subsidized employment activities are typically reported under the category “Work Subsidies” on TANF financial reports. Consistent with the definition at 45 CFR 260.31(b)(2) and at 45 CFR 286.10(b)(2), work subsidies means payments to employers or third parties to help cover the costs of employee wages, benefits, supervision, and training. This is the same definition that the ACF-196 (line 6a1) uses.

Note that some jurisdictions may in the past have reported some subsidized employment expenditures in categories other than “work subsidies” on their respective financial reports. Such a jurisdiction should nevertheless include all expenditures related to operating a subsidized employment program, including the cost of overseeing the program, developing work sites, and providing training to participants, when applying for funding.

Emergency Fund base year: FY 2007 or FY 2008, based on the fiscal year that has the lower assistance caseload (for the basic assistance category) or lower expenditures (for the non-recurrent short-term benefits and subsidized employment categories). The base year for a jurisdiction could be different for different expenditure categories. Since HHS may make adjustments to the caseload and expenditure data, the final base year for each category is the one that is the lesser after adjustments are made.