NYS Seal




The Impact of Federal TANF Reauthorization in New York State


To address the impact that federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) reauthorization will have on New York State.

Albany, NY
Thursday, March 2, 2006
10:30 A.M. State Education Building
Chancellor's Hall
89 Washington Avenue
(entrance on Hawk Street)

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996, which established the TANF program, was officially reauthorized on February 8, 2006 in the federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. The reauthorizing legislation extended the TANF program through September 30, 2010 and placed New York's funding in jeopardy through strengthened work participation requirements.

Although this version of TANF reauthorization maintains New York's $2.4 billion annual TANF block grant, it does contain several significant programmatic changes that put the full federal funding level in significant jeopardy. First, it adjusts the calculation of the caseload reduction credit that determines a state's enforceable work participation rate. Under the former rules, the caseload reduction credit reduced the minimum participation rate by the percentage of caseload decrease from FFY 1995 to the immediately preceding fiscal year. As of October 1, 2006, the base year will be recalibrated to FFY 2005, thus providing a credit to states equal to the reduction in caseload between FFY 2005 and FFY 2007. This change will have a powerful impact on New York, since the most dramatic reductions in caseload occurred in the earlier years of welfare reform. The State's work participation rate has been essentially 0% for federal enforcement purposes since PRWORA was first passed in 1996.

Actual federal rules, which will now become meaningful, require states to engage 50% of all families and 90% of all two-parent families in work activities. In addition, the new federal law requires state-funded Safety Net Assistance (SNA) families that have timed out of eligibility for TANF-funded benefits to also be counted. Once the new base year for the caseload reduction credit takes effect, these work participation rates will become enforceable, and New York could face substantial fiscal penalties amounting to $358 million for failure to meet them in FFY 2007. In addition, the reauthorizing legislation gives the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services authority to issue regulations by the end of June 2006 to further define allowable work activities.

Currently, the State's overall work participation rate is close to 39%. The Governor has proposed several initiatives in his SFY 2006-07 Executive budget to address this gap between New York's existing work participation rate and the rate that will become effective October 1, 2006. Those initiatives include full family sanctions, a step-down in the earned income disregard, and incentives to localities to meet the increased rates. It is essential that the Legislature examine the State's policies aimed at improving our overall work participation rate to reassess their effectiveness and to implement effective policies to meet the new federally mandated rates. This hearing will provide state agencies and local social services districts the opportunity to address the impact of New York's existing policies on public assistance recipients' ability to obtain and maintain employment and to propose new policy initiatives that would help in meeting the new work participation rates.

In addition, this hearing is being convened to elicit testimony from non-profit social service providers; employment, training, and education program operators; and individuals and families affected by changes in TANF program rules, who can discuss in greater depth strategies the State should employ in order to fully engage recipients of public assistance in work activities.

Please see the below for a list of subjects to which witnesses may direct their testimony.

Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee at the above hearing should complete and return the reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.

Oral testimony will be limited to 10 minutes' duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible. In the absence of a request, witnesses will be scheduled in the order in which reply forms are postmarked.

Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committee would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements.

In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committee's interest in hearing testimony from all sources.

In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.

Deborah J. Glick
Member of Assembly
Committee on Social Services


  1. What significant barriers remain for families receiving public assistance which prevent them from being able to obtain and maintain employment? Is there a particular segment of the public assistance population facing the greatest obstacles to work? What types of employment, training, and/or education programs have been most effective in helping individuals overcome these barriers?

  2. How do issues such as the costs of housing, food, transportation, child care, and health care impact the ability of public assistance recipients to obtain and maintain employment? What types of supportive services and/or public benefits have been most effective in helping these individuals remain employed? Would the availability of additional work supports enable more families to retain employment? If so, what type of work supports are most needed?

  3. What types of programs are available to families who have transitioned from TANF-funded Family Assistance to state-funded Safety Net Assistance? Are these families in need of specialized services to become engaged in work activities and to ultimately achieve self-sufficiency?

  4. How have sanctions affected the ability of families facing multiple barriers to seek and obtain employment? What types of supportive services are available to assist families in sanctioned status in becoming employable and obtaining work? Could these programs be expanded or improved upon? What impact would the imposition of full-family sanctions have on these households?

  5. What, if any, state-funded programs could be expanded or created to provide additional needed work supports to families transitioning from TANF-funded assistance to self-sufficiency that would enable them to maintain employment without returning to the public assistance rolls?

  6. Are there any other strategies that the State should employ in order to meet the new work participation rates?


Persons wishing to present testimony at the public hearing on The Impact of Federal TANF Reauthorization in New York State are requested to complete this reply form as soon as possible and mail it to:

Jill Poklemba
Legislative Analyst
Assembly Committee on Social Services
Room 522 - Capitol
Albany, New York 12248
Email: poklemj@assembly.state.ny.us
Phone: (518) 455-4371
Fax: (518) 455-4693

box I plan to attend the following public hearing on The Impact of Federal TANF Reauthorization in New York State to be conducted by the Assembly Committee on Social Services on March 2, 2006.

box I plan to make a public statement at the hearing. My statement will be limited to 10 minutes, and I will answer any questions which may arise. I will provide 10 copies of my prepared statement.


I will address my remarks to the following subjects:

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