< Back to Search

TANF-ACF-IM-2007-01(Additional Clarification and Guidance on Coding Type of Family for Work Participation and Work-Eligible Individual Indicator Under the Interim Final Rule)

Published: March 9, 2007
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Data Collection and Reporting, Work Participation Rates, TANF Guidance
Information Memoranda (IM)


State Agencies Administering the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program and Other Interested Parties


Additional Clarification and Guidance on Coding Type of Family for Work Participation and Work-Eligible Individual Indicator Under the Interim Final Rule.


The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 amended the work participation requirements by directing HHS to improve the verification and oversight of work participation.  One provision extends work participation requirements to some non-recipient parents of children receiving assistance by requiring us to “ensure consistent measurement of work participation rates” including information on “the circumstances under which a parent who resides with a child who is a recipient of assistance should be included in the work participation rates.”  This would primarily affect child-only cases, but could include some two-parent cases as well, where one of the parents is living in the household but not part of the assistance unit.  The Work-Eligible Individual Indicator data element is designed to identify all work-eligible individuals.  The definition excludes non-recipient noncustodial parents, non-recipient caretaker relatives, and some non-recipient parents who are aliens (and ineligible due to their immigration status) or, at State option, SSI recipients. Families receiving MOE-funded assistance under a Tribal TANF program are not reported in the TANF Data Report and, thus there is no specific code to identify such individuals.  States have the option to include or exclude a non-recipient parent who is receiving SSI as a work-eligible individual on a case-by-case basis.  A non-recipient parent (or minor child head-of-household), whose needs have been removed from the grant due to a sanction (i.e., sanctioned for any reason, not just a work sanction) or any other reason is a work-eligible individual.

Work eligible individual (emphasis added) means an adult (or minor child head-of-household) receiving assistance under TANF or a separate State program or a non-recipient parent living with a child receiving such assistance unless the parent is: (1) A minor parent and not the head-of-household or spouse of the head-of-household; (2) An alien who is ineligible to receive assistance due to his or her immigration status; or (3) At State option on a case-by-case basis, a recipient of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  The term also excludes: (1) A parent providing care for a disabled family member living in the home who does not attend school on a full-time basis, provided that the need for such care is supported by medical documentation; and (2) An individual receiving MOE-funded assistance under an approved Tribal TANF program, unless the State includes the Tribal family in calculating work participation rates, as permitted under §261.25.

For the purpose of calculating the two-parent work participation rate, the two-parent families include any family with two or more natural or adoptive parents (of the same minor child) who are work-eligible individuals, living in the home, unless both are minor and neither is the head-of-household.


The attached TANF Data Report and SSP-MOE Data Report have been revised as follows: (1) to correct the definition of a two-parent family; (2) to correct and clarify guidance on the work-eligible individual indicator; and (3) to clarify coding of the data elements “Type of Family for Work Participation” and “Work-Eligible Individual Indicator.”

In the TANF Data Report Instructions, the minimal definition of a “two-parent family for work participation” was truncated.  The correct definition (see CFR 261.24(c)) is shown above in the last paragraph of the background and in the attached revised TANF Data Report.

In the current guidance to the TANF Data Report , Section One, data element #48, Work-Eligible Individual Indicator, is the statement “The definition excludes noncustodial parents, …”  This statement is only partially correct.  The definition excludes non-recipient, noncustodial parents.  The definition does not exclude noncustodial parents who are receiving assistance.  A noncustodial parent who is receiving assistance would be coded with a “1” for data element #48.  However, a family with two recipient parents, one of whom is a noncustodial parent would not meet the minimal definition of a two-parent family as the noncustodial parent is not living in the home.  The Work-Eligible individual Indicator code “6” has been modified to include non-recipient noncustodial parents.

In order to properly code TANF Data Report, Section One, data element #12, Type of Family for Work Participation,” the State must first determine the number of work-eligible individuals.  If there are no work-eligible individuals, code data element #12 with code “3.”  If there is only one work-eligible individual, then code data element #12 with a “1.”  If there are two or more work-eligible individuals, the State must first determine if the family meets the minimal definition (or the State’s expanded definition) of a two-parent family.  If the family meets the definition of a two-parent family, code data element #12 with a “2.”  Otherwise, code data element #12 with a “1.”


Revised TANF Data Report and Revised SSP-MOE Data Report


Inquiries should be directed to the appropriate ACF TANF Program Manager.



Sidonie Squier
Office of Family Assistance

Last Reviewed: May 20, 2019