TANF recipients living with disabilities face physical health, mental health, and intellectual impairments as well as the range of personal and family challenges common among the welfare population. While most TANF employment programs provide some personal support to participants, most are not designed to address the specialized needs of individuals living with a disability. To aid TANF recipients living with disabilities in meeting their work participation requirements, some state and local agencies have instituted programs or components of programs that include a more individualized service approach where specialized staff with small caseloads work frequently and intensively with these recipients to address personal and family challenges, including appropriate socialization to the work environment and/or accommodations to perform their job well.
This practice brief explores the provision of personal and work supports intended to help TANF recipients living with disabilities participate in employment program activities and competitive work. The brief begins by identifying some of the potential benefits and challenges of providing supports. The next section presents findings from four in-depth case studies to illustrate how these programs use personal and work supports to prepare clients for and engage them in work or work-related activities. The concluding section includes a summary of key program elements. This brief is designed to provide policymakers and program administrators with information on innovations that have been implemented to improve the employment outcomes of TANF recipients living with a disability in the hope that they may encourage other programs to develop or refine programs of their own.