Understanding Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Caseloads After Passage of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005

Publication Date: September 2009


Author(s): LaDonna Pavetti; LaDonna Pavetti; Michelle Derr

Research Area: Government; Labor

Keywords: Solely State Funded Programs; Separate State Programs; Nonassistance Programs; Diversion

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


This paper examines how policy and structural changes states made in response to the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) may influence the level and composition of the TANF caseload. It is based on Mathematica's 50-state survey of diversion programs, as well as field visits to state and local welfare offices to study innovative strategies to increase the number of recipients participating in work activities. Changes in the total caseload between 2005 and 2008 are likely attributable to a number of factors that are not easy to disentangle. The report looks at the role of state policies to create solely state-funded programs, promote the use of other programs, expand assistance for working families, and strengthen family sanctions.