About Social Services Block Grant

The Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1981 [P.L. 97-35] amended title XX of the Social Security Act establishing the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG). Each year, the Federal Government allocates funds to States/Territories to support social services for vulnerable children, adults, and families through the SSBG. States have broad discretion in the specific services they support with SSBG funds and may tailor these funds over time to changes in the needs of their populations. In FY2016, SSBG allocations to States and Territories totaled more than $1.5 billion.

Federal Law establishes five broad goals for the SSBG. Social services funded by States/Territories must be linked to one or more of these statutory goals. [1]

  1. Achieve or maintain economic self-support to prevent, reduce, or eliminate dependency;
  2. Achieve or maintain self-sufficiency, including reduction or prevention of dependency;
  3. Prevent or remedy neglect, abuse, or exploitation of children and adults unable to protect their own interests or preserve, rehabilitate, or reunite families;
  4. Prevent or reduce inappropriate institutional care by providing for community-based care, home-based care, or other forms of less intensive care; and
  5. Secure referral or admission for institutional care when other forms of care are not appropriate, or providing services to individuals in institutions.

For more information about how State’s utilize SSBG funds to provide service to highly vulnerable populations, please visit the SSBG Publications and Reports page.

Additional SSBG Resource:

SSBG Fact Sheet

[1] 42 U.S.C. §1397

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