State TANF Policies: Welfare Rules Database Expansion

2013-2021

For several years, ACF has provided resources to facilitate updating and expanding the State TANF Policies Database. The Urban Institute began developing the database in early 1997, as part of the Assessing New Federalism project. The database was conceived as a single location where information on program rules could be researched across States and/or across years, without the need to consult multiple documents, and it was intended to provide a resource for researchers working on both descriptive and quantitative projects. As of the end of 1999, the Urban Institute had released information on eligibility and benefits rules for 1996 through 1999. ACF has funded updates to the database, as well as publication of tables summarizing State TANF policies for each year since then.

Project activities and outcomes include:

  1. Compile information on State cash assistance policies from State manuals and enter it into the database;
  2. Verify the database information with State welfare agencies;
  3. Make the database publicly available on the Internet, and make improvements to the Internet interface as appropriate;
  4. Prepare an annual book summarizing the information on State cash assistance policies; and
  5. Prepare special tables to support HHS priorities and initiatives.

Point(s) of contact: Girley Wright and Gabrielle Newell.

Related Resources

The Welfare Rules Database tracks state TANF policies over time, from 1996 to the present. The database includes hundreds of variables related to initial eligibility, benefit amounts, work and activity requirements, and ongoing eligibility and time limits. This report describes the ways in which policies vary within the context of the federal program requirements, and includes dozens of detailed tables showing each state’s policy choices.

If a family needs help covering their expenses during a period of financial hardship, will they qualify for temporary cash assistance? If so, how much assistance can they receive each month, and for how long can they receive it? The answers to these questions depend not only on the family’s circumstances but also on where they live.

This annual publication, The Welfare Rules Databook, provides tables containing key Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) policies for each state as of July 2018, as well as longitudinal tables describing various state policies for selected years between 1996 and 2018. The tables are based on the information...

This annual publication, The Welfare Rules Databook, provides tables containing key Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) policies for each state as of July 2017, as well as longitudinal tables describing various state policies for selected years between 1996 and 2016. The tables are based...

This brief is a companion to the 2016 Welfare Rules Databook and provides a graphical overview of selected state policy differences for TANF cash assistance. The policies are taken from the Welfare Rules Database (WRD), a database maintained by the Urban Institute and funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation within the Administration for Child and Families in the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The WRD...

This annual publication, The Welfare Rules Databook, provides tables containing key Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) policies for each state as of July 2016, as well as longitudinal tables describing various state policies...

This annual publication, using information from the Welfare Rules Database, provides tables containing key Temporary Assistance for Needy Families policies for each state as of July 2015, as well as longitudinal tables describing various state policies for selected years between 1996 and 2015...

This annual publication, using information from the Welfare Rules Database, provides tables containing key Temporary Assistance for Needy Families policies for each state as of July 2014, as well as longitudinal tables describing various state policies for selected years between 1996 and 2014...

The Welfare Rules Databook provides tables containing key Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) policies for each state as of July 2013, as well as longitudinal tables describing various state policies for selected years between 1996 and 2013. The tables are based on the information in the Welfare Rules Database Visit disclaimer page (WRD); a publicly available, online database originally developed under the Urban Institute’s Assessing the New Federalism project.

The Welfare Rules Databook provides tables containing key Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) policies for each state as of July 2012, as well as longitudinal tables describing various state policies for selected years between 1996 and 2012. The tables are based on the information in the Welfare Rules Database; a publicly available, online database originally developed under the Urban Institute’s Assessing the New Federalism project.

The Databook is divided into five groups...