Tuesday, October 1, 2013

AFDC/TANF Benefits over Time

Below, Corrections depicts the number of beneficiaries for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and its successor program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) (click to enlarge).  AFDC was synonymous with cash-benefit welfare before 1996, when the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), part of the Contract with America, was signed into law by Bill Clinton. Around 1994 (denoted by the first red line) states began to request and were granted waivers to tighten welfare restrictiveness, in part due to the rapid rise of welfare beneficiaries in the early 1990's.
 By 1996, while rolls were falling due to new state actions, the PRWORA largely killed the welfare program by instituting five-year lifetime limits, and giving block grants to states, giving them incentives to find efficient uses for the money.  These grants have largely not increased over time, and are slowly being whittled away by inflation.

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