At What Price? A Cost Analysis for the Administration’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Work Participation Proposal

Publication Date: April 2002

Publisher: Center for Law and Social Policy

Author(s): Jennifer Mezey; Elise Richer; Mark Greenberg; Rachel Schumacher; Steve Savner

Research Area: Social conditions

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


This analysis concludes that the five-year costs of complying with the Administration’s proposed work requirement provisions, assuming a flat TANF caseload, are in the range of $15.1 billion above what states would otherwise spend under current law. That figure includes the cost of implementing work program changes as well as child care expenditures. The analysis provides background on the Administration’s proposal, summarizes the overall approach and key assumptions of the CLASP cost analysis, discusses implications of the projected costs, explains why the Administration’s proposal is unwise at any price, and offers alternatives for promoting better employment outcomes for families receiving TANF. It also includes a brief summary of differences between the Administration proposal and the recently introduced Herger bill, H.R. 4090. The appendices offer a detailed step-by-step analysis of each assumption used in making the cost estimates and a description of the details of the Administration’s proposal. A set of tables provides the actual numbers and projected dollar figures.