TANF Work Participation Requirements
Under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, parents and caretakers receiving cash assistance funded with TANF must engage in work activities as defined by the state TANF agency (in Iowa: the Department of Human Services). Parents and caretakers may be exempt from participating for very limited reasons. In addition, states are required to meet work participation rates. These rates are based on the percent of parents and caretakers receiving cash assistance that participate a minimum number of hours per week on average
, in certain countable activities
established by federal law. These activities are divided into core and non-core activities
. Time spent in non-core activities can only be included in the average hours per week in certain circumstances.
There are two separate rates that states must meet. The all-family rate is 50% while the 2-parent rate (where both parents are in the home) is 90%. These rates can be reduced if the state's TANF cash assistance caseloads have declined since 2005. The rates are adjusted downward by the same percent that the corresponding caseload has decreased. For example, if the state's all-family caseload decreased by 10% since 2005, the adjusted all-family work rate would be reduced to 40%.
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