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Q & A: Use of Funds

TANF Program Policy Questions and Answers

Published: May 2, 2013
Audience:
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Topics:
TANF Guidance
Types:
Q&A
Tags:
TANF Program Policy Questions and Answers, Use of Funds

Q31: May States use Federal TANF and State MOE funds to provide language services to families with limited English proficiency (i.e., LEP families) that apply for or receive TANF benefits?

A31: Yes, State TANF agencies may use their Federal TANF and MOE funds to provide language services and other services needed by LEP families applying for or receiving TANF benefits. If applicable, State expenditures in this area must follow the cost allocation guidelines governing expenditures involving two or more Federal programs. Such costs are also subject to the 15-percent administrative cost limitations percent on both Federal TANF and MOE expenditures. Thus, in situations where LEP-related services are needed for TANF, Food Stamp, and Medicaid benefits, States must appropriately allocate the costs of those services among these three programs. Regarding the 15-percent administrative cost limitations, States need to evaluate the services provided against the Federal rule at 45 CFR 263.0, which defines "administrative costs" for the purposes of these limitations. Under the TANF rule, the term "administrative costs" means costs necessary for the proper administration of the TANF program or separate State programs. It includes the costs of general administration and coordination of programs including contract costs and all indirect (or overhead) costs. Examples of the types of activities that would be classified as "administrative costs" include the salaries and benefits of staff performing administrative and coordination functions, activities related to eligibility determinations, the preparation of budgets, program plans and schedules, monitoring of programs and projects, etc. Excluded from "administrative costs" are the direct costs of providing program services such as providing program information, the development of employability plans, work activities, post-employment services, work supports, and case management.

In short, TANF and MOE expenditures that are not "administrative costs" are not subject to the 15-percent cost limitations. For example, the cost of an interpreter who provides program information or performs an employability assessment is not subject to the limitations; however, the cost of an interpreter to elicit family information for an eligibility determination is an administrative cost covered by the limitations.

A comprehensive explanation of "administrative costs," together with a complete list of the items that are included and excluded from the definition, are available in the Federal regulations at 45 CFR 263.0 and in the preamble discussion to the final TANF regulations (at 64 FR 17808 - 17814).

Q32: May a State automatically continue the emergency assistance (EA) and/or services it has provided pursuant to the grandfathering provision in section 404(a)(2) of the Social Security Act (Act) once the initial 12 month period has expired?

A32: No. Under section 404(a)(2) of the Act, States may use segregated Federal TANF funds only for the specific activities that had been previously authorized based on the State's approved title IV-A or IV-F plan in effect as of either 9/30/95 or 8/21/96 (per the State option). States must use the same eligibility criteria and the same duration for the assistance and services contained in the State's approved plan. A State's approved plan had to comply with the applicable former AFDC statute and regulation. “Emergency assistance to needy families with children” was set forth in section 406 (e) of the Act. The implementing regulation was 45 CFR 233.120. The AFDC statute and regulation allowed States to use Federal funds for EA and services that the State authorized during one period of 30 consecutive days in any 12 consecutive months, provided ALL EA eligibility criteria had been met. In pertinent part, 45 CFR 233.120 states that EA may only be provided: To or on behalf of a needy child under the age of 21 and any other member of the household in which he is living if:

(i) Such child is (or, with 6 months prior to the month in which such assistance is requested, has been) living with any of the relatives specified in section 406(a)(1) of the Act in a place of residence maintained by one or more such relatives as his or their own home. (per section 406(a)(1) of the Act, the child must be living with his father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, brother, sister, stepfather, stepmother, stepbrother, stepsister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, or niece, in a place of residence maintained by one or more of such relatives as his or their own home.)

(ii) Such child is without resources immediately accessible to meet his needs; and

(iii) The emergency assistance is necessary to avoid destitution of such child or to provide living arrangements for him in a home.

At the end of the 12-month period, a new application must be taken, and eligibility must be determined in order for EA to be authorized during the 30-day period which begins a new 12-month period.

Q33: Final DRA 2005 Rules: Can a county offer family planning services, funded by TANF, to a childless couple under TANF purpose 4? TANF purpose 4 is as follows: To promote the formation and maintenance of two-parent families. The reason for such a service is to prevent an unwanted pregnancy from creating stress in the marriage.

A33: Yes. However as explained below, the State must use Federal TANF funds only. Also, it is worth noting that there is a statutory prohibition on using Federal TANF funds to provide medical services, with the exception of pre-pregnancy family planning services. If the State or county uses State or local funds to pay for family planning services, then the State may count this non-assistance expenditure toward its maintenance-of-effort (MOE) requirement until September 30, 2008. In the interim final TANF rule, we discussed the pro-family MOE claiming provision added by the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) of 2005. Under the interim final TANF rule, States may count allowable expenditures for MOE purposes, on “pro-family” non-assistance activity provided to anyone (not just eligible family members), so long as the activity is reasonably calculated to prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies (TANF purpose 3) or to encourage the formation and maintenance of two parent families (TANF purpose 4).

The final TANF rule narrowed the scope of this pro-family claiming provision to “certain” pro-family activities within TANF purpose 3 or TANF purpose 4. Effective October 1, 2008 (FY 2009), States may only claim for MOE purposes, allowable expenditures for the pro-family healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood activities enumerated in part IV-A of the Social Security Act, sections 403(a)(2)(A)(iii) and 403(a)(2)(C)(ii) that are consistent with TANF purpose 3 or TANF purpose 4. Family planning services are not among the enumerated healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood activities.

Beyond the limited pro-family claiming provision described above, State may only claim for MOE purposes, allowable expenditures for or on behalf of eligible families. An eligible family is a financially needy family that consists of, at a minimum, a child living with a caretaker relative, or consists of a pregnant woman. This married childless couple does not meet the definition of “eligible family.”

Q34: Can State or Tribal Federal TANF funds be used to purchase tools and building materials in order to support a training program that will prepare needy TANF recipients for jobs in the “construction trades” such as carpenter, electrician, plumber, etc.?

A34: Federal TANF funds may be expended on items that are necessary to enable the needy TANF individual to engage in training for positions in the construction field. Items or services such as clothing, books, tuition, and onsite instruction that are used exclusively for training purposes can be covered with Federal TANF funds. We remind you, however, that 2 C.F.R. Part 225 Appendix B contains several applicable restrictions on the use of Federal funds with respect to equipment and construction costs.

Q35: The U.S. Department of Transportation's New Freedom Program (49 USC 5317), and the Formula Grants for Special Needs of Elderly Individuals (49 USC 5310) both have a cost sharing requirement. In pertinent part, both programs specify that the State's share of costs may be met "from amounts appropriated or otherwise made available to a department or agency of the Government (other than the Department of Transportation) that are eligible to be expended for transportation." Is it allowable to use Federal TANF funds to help meet the cost-sharing requirement of either program?

A35: Yes, an allocable portion of Federal TANF funds may be used to help meet the program's cost sharing requirement, as long as the State uses the funds to help pay for allowable costs for or on behalf of TANF clientele. The regulation at 45 CFR 92.41(a)(1) states that "Except as provided by Federal statute, a cost-sharing or matching requirement may not be met by costs borne by another Federal grant."

(States are prohibited from using MOE funds to help meet either program's cost-sharing requirement, per section 409(a)(7)(B)(iv)(IV) of the Social Security Act and the TANF regulations at 45 CFR 263.6(c)).

Q36: When is it allowable for TANF jurisdictions to use TANF funds for food service expenses?

A36: 2 CFR Part 225 (OMB Circular A-87) establishes principles and standards for determining costs for Federal awards carried out through grants, cost reimbursement contracts, and other agreements with State and local governments and federally recognized Indian tribal governments (governmental units). Appendix B identifies select items of costs. The analysis applies to States, Territories, and Tribes.

For the purpose of this response, food service expenses include food and other related costs (e.g., gratuity, catering staff, delivery charges, renting tables, etc.).

2 CFR Part 225 requires that costs be necessary and reasonable for proper and efficient performance and administration of Federal awards. In general, in accordance with 2 CFR Part 225, App. A, section C, a cost is reasonable if, in its nature and amount, it does not exceed that which would be incurred by a prudent person under the circumstances prevailing at the time the decision was made to incur the cost. 2 CFR Part 225, App. A, section C outlines further criteria for consideration in determining if a cost is reasonable and necessary.

Reasonable and necessary costs pertaining to TANF-related meetings and conferences, including food service expenses, are allowable. 2 CFR Part 225, App. B, section 27 clarifies that the “the primary purpose of [the conference or meeting must be] the dissemination of technical information” (emphasis added). Further, note that all TANF expenditures, including food service expenditures, must be clearly linked to one or more of the four statutory purposes of TANF. Therefore, costs pertaining to meetings and conference, including food service expenses, are allowable if the primary purpose of the event is the dissemination of technical information related to TANF. ACF considers a topic related to TANF if imparting this information is reasonably calculated to further a purpose of TANF. Examples of topics related to TANF include housing, child welfare, and other issues impacting vulnerable families. The meeting or conference could be a meeting intended to provide technical information to program participants, staff, community partners, or others, so long as it is furthering a TANF purpose.

Examples of allowable uses of TANF funds for food service expenses during a meeting or conference include:

  • catered meals during an all-day employment-related training for TANF clients,
  • orientation for new TANF clients, and
  • catered meals during an annual “TANF Outreach Meeting” for administrators and staff from other TANF programs and other local social service providers.

2 CFR Part 225, App. B, section 14 provides that “costs of entertainment, including amusement, diversion, and social activities and any costs directly associated with such costs (such as tickets to shows or sports events, meals, lodging, rentals, transportation, and gratuities) are unallowable.” Examples of unallowable uses of TANF funds for food service expenses related to entertainment include:

  • catered parties (e.g., holiday parties for TANF staff and/or clients),
  • lunch provided during a “Family Day” at the fair for TANF clients,
  • catered lunches at “Grand Opening” events in the community,
  • youth awards dinners, and
  • Mother’s Day lunch for TANF clients at a local restaurant.

Please note that the costs of alcoholic beverages are unallowable in all circumstances.

A few TANF jurisdictions have inquired about the allowability of “holiday baskets” which contain turkeys, pumpkin pies, and other items traditionally included in “holiday” meals. “Holiday baskets” are allowable if clearly linked to TANF purpose one and thus only provided to families meeting income and family composition criteria; however, providing “holiday baskets” to the community in general does not meet a purpose of TANF and is thus unallowable.

A few Tribal representatives have also inquired about the use of TANF funds for food service expenses at cultural activities. Tribal TANF programs have the flexibility to establish their own allowable work activities, including, if desired, culturally relevant work activities. For example, many Tribes include traditional subsistence activities such as fishing, hunting, or beadwork as work activities. Food service expenses related to participation in a work activity is linked to TANF purpose one and two; therefore these expenditures are allowable provided that TANF funds are only used to pay for food service expenses for families participating in work activities (i.e., TANF families eligible for TANF assistance according to the financial criteria established by the Tribe). TANF funds cannot be used to provide food to the Tribal community in general at cultural events.

Q37: Are employee morale expenditures, including cash incentives to employees, an allowable use of TANF funds?

A37: First and foremost, the purpose of TANF is to help needy families, along with the other goals specified in Section 401(a) of the Social Security Act, and in looking at any potential expenditure, it is important for the State, Tribe or Territory to be satisfied that the expenditure is reasonably calculated to further the program goals.

However, 2 C.F.R. Part 225, Appendix B, Section 13 provides:

13. Employee morale, health, and welfare costs.

a. The costs of employee information publications, health or first-aid clinics and/or infirmaries, recreational activities, employee counseling services, and any other expenses incurred in accordance with the governmental unit's established practice or custom for the improvement of working conditions, employer-employee relations, employee morale, and employee performance are allowable.

b. Such costs will be equitably apportioned to all activities of the governmental unit. Income generated from any of these activities will be offset against expenses.

This means that TANF expenses incurred in the context of employee morale are allowable if they are consistent with the State, Tribe, or Territory’s established personnel practice and policies governing the administration of TANF and other government programs. For example, if the Tribe has or wants to implement an employee morale/cash incentive based on actual employee performance then TANF funds may be used to pay the incentives for TANF employees up to the percentage of effort they work on the TANF program. Please note that cash incentives that are not in place prior to the performance of the work, not based on actual and documented employee performance, and not available to all Tribal employees (e.g., only available to TANF employees) are not allowable.

Employee morale costs need to be evaluated against the Federal “administrative cost” definition at 45 CFR 263.0(b) for States, DC, and the Territories and 45 CFR 286.5 for the Tribes. It is also important to note that for an employee whose salary and benefits qualify as an “administrative cost”, any employee morale costs attributable to that employee are also subject to the TANF jurisdiction’s administrative cost limit. However, if an employee is providing program services, then the associated salary and benefits (including any employee morale costs) are excluded from the administrative cost limit.

Items prohibited by 2 C.F.R. Part 225 are still unallowable in the context of employee morale; for example, costs of alcoholic beverages and entertainment are unallowable. It is important to distinguish between allowable recreational activities and unallowable entertainment; therefore, at the jurisdiction’s request, we can review any morale-building activities that resemble entertainment on a case-by-case basis.

2 C.F.R. Part 225, Appendix A, Section C requires that all costs be “necessary and reasonable for proper and efficient performance and administration of Federal awards.” The regulatory definition of “reasonable” is:

A cost is reasonable if, in its nature and amount, it does not exceed that which would be incurred by a prudent person under the circumstances prevailing at the time the decision was made to incur the cost. The question of reasonableness is particularly important when governmental units or components are predominately federally-funded. In determining reasonableness of a given cost, consideration shall be given to:

a. Whether the cost is of a type generally recognized as ordinary and necessary for the operation of the governmental unit or the performance of the Federal award.

b. The restraints or requirements imposed by such factors as: sound business practices; arm's-length bargaining; Federal, State and other laws and regulations; and, terms and conditions of the Federal award.

c. Market prices for comparable goods or services.

d. Whether the individuals concerned acted with prudence in the circumstances considering their responsibilities to the governmental unit, its employees, the public at large, and the Federal Government.

e. Significant deviations from the established practices of the governmental unit which may unjustifiably increase the Federal award's cost.

In summary, expenses incurred in the context of improving employee morale, including cash incentives to employees, are allowable if they are consistent with all applicable rules and regulations, including the criteria outlined above.

Q38: Under what conditions may a State provide assistance to a family whose child has been absent for longer than a 180-day period?

A38: When a child is absent from the home, a State may only use Federal TANF funds or comingled State and Federal funds to provide assistance beyond a 180 day absence period if pursuant to good cause exceptions specified in its State plan. When using separate or segregated State funds to provide assistance beyond a 180 day period, the State may adopt the same approach as applies to Federal or commingled funds, or may implement another reasonable approach.

For assistance funded with Federal or commingled Federal and State funds, Section 408(a)(10) of the Social Security Act provides:

(A) In general.—A State to which a grant is made under section 403 shall not use any part of the grant to provide assistance for a minor child who has been, or is expected by a parent (or other caretaker relative) of the child to be, absent from the home for a period of 45 consecutive days or, at the option of the State, such period of not less than 30 and not more than 180 consecutive days as the State may provide for in the State plan submitted pursuant to section 402.

(B) State authority to establish good cause exceptions.—The State may establish such good cause exceptions to subparagraph (A) as the State considers appropriate if such exceptions are provided for in the State plan submitted pursuant to section 402.
Accordingly, if the State elects to provide assistance during a period of temporary absence, the time period must be a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 180 days, subject to any good exceptions. Moreover, the parent or caretaker must expect that the child will return home during the specified period, again subject to any good cause exceptions.

If a child has been absent from the family for longer than 180 days, subject to reasonable cause exceptions, then the State may no longer provide Federal TANF assistance to the family on behalf of the absent child. This means that if there is another minor child in the home, the State must reduce the assistance grant to account for the removal of the absent child. If there is no other minor child in the family, then after a 180-day maximum temporary absence period, the family is not eligible for Federal TANF assistance, subject to reasonable cause exceptions; if and when the absent minor child is returned to the home of the family, the family will once again be eligible for Federal TANF assistance, provided it still meets all other eligibility criteria.

By its terms, Section 408(a)(10) does not apply to a State’s use of segregated or separate State funding counting toward TANF MOE requirements. However, MOE expenditures may only be made on behalf of eligible families, which are defined as needy families in which a child is residing with a parent or caretaker relative (45 C.F.R.263.2(b)). A State may develop its own reasonable temporary absence policy for purposes of MOE expenditures. The Preamble to the TANF Final Rule states that “It would be reasonable for States to use the time frames given under section 408(a)(10) to define ‘temporary’ and to develop a corresponding MOE policy” (FR Vol. 64, No. 69, April 12, 1999, p. 17823). However, in order to meet the "eligible families" requirement for MOE and to be consistent with the goals of TANF, there cannot be an expectation that the child will be absent beyond the reasonable period of temporary absence determined by the State for MOE purposes. As with assistance funded with Federal and commingled funds, the child must return to the home by the end of the temporary period established by the State. Otherwise, the child can no longer be considered to be residing with the parent or other caretaker relative. If there is no other minor child in the home, then the family is not an “eligible family,” and may not receive State MOE-funded assistance.

A State should identify in its State plan its temporary absence policy as it pertains to assistance funded with Federal TANF and commingled funds, as well as MOE-funded assistance.

Q39: Can Tribal TANF funds be used to purchase or lease a trailer or modular unit for use by TANF staff?

A39: Background: The Office of Family Assistance (OFA) received an inquiry from a Tribe requesting to use Tribal TANF funds for the purchase or lease of a trailer or modular unit. According to the Tribe, TANF staff need additional office space. The TANF staff understand that they can't build a facility, but would like to know what can be done to stay within the guidelines for allowable uses of TANF funds.

Applicable regulations:

Under 45 CFR 286.45(e), “Tribal TANF funds may not be used for the construction or purchase of facilities or buildings.”

According to the HHS Grants Policy Statement, Exhibit 4. Selected Items of Cost, “A trailer or modular unit is considered real property when the unit and its installation are designed or planned to be installed permanently at a given location so as to seem fixed to the land as a permanent structure or appurtenance thereto. Units classified as real property may not be charged to an HHS grant-supported project unless authorizing legislation permits construction or acquisition of real property and the specific purchase is approved by the OPDIV.”

Under 2 CFR 225, App. B. 37, rental costs of buildings and equipment are allowable to the extent that the rates are reasonable, subject to certain limitations.

Response:

TANF funds cannot be used to purchase a trailer or modular building. The regulations at 45 CFR 286.45(e) specifically prohibit the purchase of “facilities or buildings” with Tribal TANF funds; trailers and modular buildings, which are designed to serve as dwellings or places of business, fit this classification. Further, ACF has consistently classified trailers and modular units as permanent structures and has not approved related costs for other ACF programs. As articulated in the HHS Grants Policy Statement, trailers or modular units that are classified as permanent structures are considered real property and may not be charged. Therefore, the restriction at 45 CFR 286.45(e) applies. However, this prohibition does not extend to the leasing of a trailer. The Tribal TANF regulations do not address rental scenarios, and 2 CFR 225, App. B. 37 allows for rental costs to be charged, subject to certain limitations.

If leasing is being considered, the following criteria will apply:

Subject to the limitations described below, rental costs are allowable to the extent that the rates are reasonable in light of such factors as: rental costs of comparable property, if any; market conditions in the area; alternatives available; and the type, life expectancy, condition, and value of the property leased. Rental arrangements should be reviewed periodically to determine if circumstances have changed and other options are available.

Rental costs under "sale and lease back'' arrangements are allowable only up to the amount that would be allowed had the governmental unit continued to own the property. This amount would include expenses such as depreciation or use allowance, maintenance, taxes, and insurance.

Rental costs under "less-than-arm's-length'' leases are allowable only up to the amount that would be allowed had title to the property been vested in the governmental unit. For this purpose, a less-than-arm's-length lease is one under which one party to the lease agreement is able to control or substantially influence the actions of the other. Such leases include, but are not limited to those between divisions of a governmental unit; governmental units under common control through common officers, directors, or members; and a governmental unit and a director, trustee, officer, or key employee of the governmental unit or his immediate family, either directly or through corporations, trusts, or similar arrangements in which they hold a controlling interest. For example, a governmental unit may establish a separate corporation for the sole purpose of owning property and leasing it back to the governmental unit.

Rental costs under leases which are required to be treated as capital leases under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) are allowable only up to the amount (as explained in subsection b) that would be allowed had the governmental unit purchased the property on the date the lease agreement was executed. The provisions of Financial Accounting Standards Board Statement 13, Accounting for Leases, shall be used to determine whether a lease is a capital lease. Interest costs related to capital leases are allowable to the extent they meet the criteria at 2 CFR 225, App. B. 23. Unallowable costs include amounts paid for profit, management fees, and taxes that would not have been incurred had the governmental unit purchased the facility.

When evaluating a request to lease a modular unit with TANF funds, the Tribe must also consider the extent to which the funds expended by the TANF program would represent the proportional cost of the unit’s use by TANF staff and clients.

Q40: Can federal TANF & MOE funds be used to match (1) the emergency solutions grants program as authorized under subtitle B of title IV of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, as amended; (2) the continuum of care program as authorized under subtitle C of title IV of such Act; (3) the rural housing stability assistance program as authorized under subtitle D of title IV of such Act; (4) the supportive housing program as formerly authorized under subtitle C of title IV of such Act (regulations at 24 CFR part 583); and (5) the shelter plus care program as formerly authorized under subtitle F of title IV of such Act (regulations at 24 CFR part 582)?

A40: It is permissible for federal TANF funds to be used as a match for the above-listed programs, but it is not permissible for state funds to be used as a match to count toward a jurisdiction’s MOE requirement.

In general, federal funds from one program may not be used as matching funds for another federal program unless federal law expressly authorizes that the funds be allowable as a match. However, according to recent appropriations acts, a grantee under HUD’s McKinney-Vento Act programs may use other federal funds as a match unless there is a specific statutory prohibition. The provision allowing for the use of funds from other federal agencies as a match for these McKinney-Vento Act programs first appeared in the FY 2009 HUD appropriations legislation and has been incorporated in each annual HUD appropriation since then (see, for example, Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012, Pub. L. No. 112–55, 125 Stat. 552, 685 (2011)).

There is no language in title IV-A of the Social Security Act which governs the TANF program that prevents Federal TANF funds from being used as matching funds for the above mentioned HUD homelessness programs. These matching funds must be used consistent with the TANF requirements as well as the requirements for the homelessness programs they are being used in. Please note that the use of federal TANF funds as a match for these HUD homeless programs is permissible so long as the HUD appropriation language, which allows for this matching arrangement, is in force.  

Non-federal funds used to meet the matching requirement for the HUD homelessness programs cannot count as MOE in the TANF Program. The TANF statute and regulations, section 409(a)(7)(B)(iv)(IV) of the Social Security Act and 45 CFR 263.6(c), expressly prohibit counting expenditures  made as a condition of receiving federal funds in another program toward a jurisdiction’s maintenance of effort requirement.

Q41: If a state intercepts a portion of a family’s refundable EITC in order to recoup a debt owed to the state by the family, may the state consider the full amount of the refund (including the intercepted portion) as a federal TANF or MOE expenditure?

A41:  No.  In this case, where the state is using the intercept to recoup a debt owed to the state, only the portion of the refundable EITC that is actually received by the family may be considered a federal TANF or MOE expenditure.   This follows from the policy explained in TANF-ACF-PI-2001-01 which can be found at the following link: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/resource/policy/pi-ofa/2001/pi200...

Please note the language in the PI explaining that a state may not treat foregone revenue as an allowable use of TANF or MOE funds, and that only the portion of the tax credit that the state actually refunds to the taxpayer may be claimed.  These principles are also outlined in the federal regulations at 45 CFR 260.30 and 260.33 and the definition of what constitutes an “Expenditure.”  Since these intercepted funds are being used to repay a debt owed to the state, they do not constitute an expenditure of federal TANF or MOE funds.

However, in circumstances where the tax intercept recovered a past due child support debt (i.e., from an individual whose EITC payment was eligible for reimbursement via federal TANF or MOE funds) and the intercepted amount (or a portion thereof) was transmitted to a custodial parent and not retained by the state, then the transmitted amount of the EITC could be paid out of federal TANF funds or claimed as an MOE expenditure.  However, if the intercepted amount was retained by the state, then federal TANF funds or MOE could not cover this amount.  (Amended on: 6/4/2013)

Q42: May a TANF jurisdiction offer non-recurrent, short-term benefits to an individual or family that has received a non-TANF/MOE-funded benefit or service in excess of four months to address a specific crisis or episode of need?

A42: Yes.  The four months of TANF benefits would be considered a non-recurrent, short-term benefit, even though they are provided to a recipient who has received the same or similar non-TANF/MOE benefits in order to address the same crisis or episode of need.  The reading of the TANF statute and regulations is that the four month limitation on non-recurrent, short-term benefits applies to TANF/MOE-funded support and does not encompass services covered by other federal funding streams such as FEMA or HUD.  (Posted on: 5/2/2013)

Q43: May a state offer additional TANF/MOE-funded non-recurrent, short-term benefits to recipients after they have exhausted four months of TANF/MOE-funded non-recurrent, short-term benefits, if those benefits are similar in nature and designed to address the same crisis or episode of need?

A43: No.  The continuation of similar benefits designed to address a specific crisis or episode of need provided beyond the initial four months of non-recurrent short-term benefit receipt, even if provided through a new program, is not consistent with the regulatory definition of non-recurrent, short-term benefits at 45 CFR 260.31(b)(1).  This is consistent with our regulations and past practice.

Please note, any TANF or MOE funded benefit that is designed to meet a particular need on an ongoing basis (i.e., more than four consecutive months) would have to be classified as assistance if it qualifies as such under the applicable regulatory requirements.  (Posted on: 5/2/2013)