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Policy Manual

Revenue Enhancement

Assistance Programs

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF)


In 1996, Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), which implemented the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  TANF replaced the 

          national welfare program known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), and 

          related programs known as the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training Program (JOBS) and the Emergency Assistance (EA) program. 


AFDC, JOBS and EA were entitlement programs; if a family was eligible for one of these programs, then the Federal government shared in the program costs.  The cost rate in Connecticut was fifty percent (50%).  Under TANF, states are provided with a block grant of funds and, as long as the expenditure meets a purpose of the TANF program, the State is allowed to claim that expenditure under TANF.

TANF Eligibility

The TANF State Plan, submitted by the State of Connecticut to the Administration of Children and Families (ACF), defines eligibility requirements for various services under TANF.  Under this plan, a family is eligible for most TANF services if they have income equal to or below seventy-five percent (75%) of the State Median Income (SMI), which roughly translates to three hundred thirty-five percent (335%) of poverty. 

Some services have different eligibility criteria.  For example, child welfare services are eligible for TANF if the child receiving the service is without the financial resources to meet his or her needs.

TANF Services

To submit a claim for a service under the TANF program, the service 

          must be reasonably calculated to accomplish one of the four TANF purposes described below, or 

          have been covered under the State’s obsolete Emergency Assistance (EA) program.

Out-of-Home Services

All out-of-home services are eligible under TANF unless the child fails to meet the specified relative test; i.e., the child did not live with a relative within six (6) months of being placed in foster or residential care. 

Out-of-home services shall be covered for one year from the date of the EA/TANF application signed by the REU worker.

In-Home Services

All in-home services are eligible under TANF if provided to a needy family.  A needy family is a family with income below seventy-five percent (75%) of the State Median Income (SMI).

If the family is eligible for Medicaid, HUSKY, Food Stamps, Temporary Financial Assistance or childcare assistance, the Department shall assume that the family is needy.  If this information is not available, the Department shall determine if the family’s income is below seventy-five percent (75%) of the SMI.

TANF Purposes

The purposes of the TANF program are broadly defined and there is great flexibility in structuring services and funding them with TANF dollars.  The  purposes of TANF are to 

          provide assistance to needy families so that a child may be cared for in his or her own home or in the home of a relative 

          end dependence of needy families by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage 

          prevent and reduce out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and 

          encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.

 The State may also submit claims for any services that do not meet any of the above  purposes, provided the service was covered under Connecticut’s Emergency Assistance (EA) Plan in effect on September 30, 1995. 

Since the State’s EA plan included services for children at risk of abuse and neglect, the State can claim for out-of-home placements (foster care and residential treatment) that would not otherwise qualify under any of the purposes.

Connecticut Department of Children and Families              Effective Date:   March 15, 2002 (Revised)