Study Shows That TANF Application Process Works

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HHS News Release

The Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services today released a report on states' TANF application policies and their potential effects on applicants' decisions to participate in the program. The study found that in most study sites, families who decided not to apply for benefits were no worse off, and sometimes better off, than families who filed for and were receiving TANF benefits.

"This report shows that the study sites are using the flexibility that TANF provides in an appropriate way," said Wade F. Horn, Ph.D., assistant secretary for children and families. "Their application procedures are not depriving needy people of benefits. Those who chose not to apply seem to have made the right decision."

Application experiences and outcomes for a sample of families were studied in county or local welfare offices in Mercer County (Trenton, N.J.); Ramsey County (St. Paul), MN; San Diego County (San Diego), CA; Providence, RI; Cook County (Chicago), IL; and Bibb County (Macon), GA. The study found that after 3 to 9 months, 10 of 12 sample groups of people who decided not to apply for TANF were either doing better or the same as families that had applied and been approved for benefits under the program.

The report, "Study of the TANF Application Process", also includes information on the content, quality and format of TANF application data based on surveys of the 54 states and territories. It found that states differ on how they define and count application data related to TANF, thus making collection of detailed national data difficult. ACF currently collects only very general TANF application data.

The entire study is available on the web at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/ifr/index.htm

August 7, 2003
Contact: ACF Press Office (202) 401-9215

Study Shows That TANF Application Process Works

The Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services today released a report on states' TANF application policies and their potential effects on applicants' decisions to participate in the program. The study found that in most study sites, families who decided not to apply for benefits were no worse off, and sometimes better off, than families who filed for and were receiving TANF benefits.

"This report shows that the study sites are using the flexibility that TANF provides in an appropriate way," said Wade F. Horn, Ph.D., assistant secretary for children and families. "Their application procedures are not depriving needy people of benefits. Those who chose not to apply seem to have made the right decision."

Application experiences and outcomes for a sample of families were studied in county or local welfare offices in Mercer County (Trenton, N.J.); Ramsey County (St. Paul), MN; San Diego County (San Diego), CA; Providence, RI; Cook County (Chicago), IL; and Bibb County (Macon), GA. The study found that after 3 to 9 months, 10 of 12 sample groups of people who decided not to apply for TANF were either doing better or the same as families that had applied and been approved for benefits under the program.

The report, "Study of the TANF Application Process", also includes information on the content, quality and format of TANF application data based on surveys of the 54 states and territories. It found that states differ on how they define and count application data related to TANF, thus making collection of detailed national data difficult. ACF currently collects only very general TANF application data.

The entire study is available on the web at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/ifr/index.htm

Contact: ACF Press Office (202) 401-9215
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