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Congress Should Take Action to Restore Flexibility Lost in 2006 Welfare Reauthorization and HHS Regulations

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Publication Date: January 2007

Publisher(s): Center for Law and Social Policy

Author(s): Elizabeth Lower-Basch

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Social conditions (Public welfare and social services)

Type: Brief

Coverage: United States

Abstract:

The 2006 TANF reauthorization substantially increased effective work participation rates on states, and it limited state flexibility to individualize work requirements. HHS’s interim regulations implementing this law included narrow definitions of the countable work activities, definitions that further restrict state flexibility to use a range of effective work-related activities. This paper outlines a series of changes that Congress should make to restore flexibility and encourage states to allow low-income families to participate in a range of activities that will improve their self-sufficiency.