TN 83 (10-00)

SI 00830.403 Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF)

CITATIONS: Social Security Act, as amended, sections 401-419, 1611(c)(5)(A), 1612(a)(2), 1612(b)(2)(A), and 1612(b)(6); 20 CFR 416.1102, 416.1103, 416.1124(c)(2), and 416.1124(c)(12); 45 CFR 260-265.

A. INTRODUCTION

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 revised Title IV-A of the Social Security Act and replaced Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC) with cash block grants to States and Indian tribes for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). This legislation ended the Federal entitlement of individuals to cash assistance under Title IV-A and gave States and tribes the flexibility to design their own cash assistance programs for providing aid to needy families.

Because States determine their own eligibility criteria and set benefit amounts, the TANF programs and requirements vary from State-to-State.

NOTE: The use of the word "State" in this section includes the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Indian tribes that have developed TANF plans.

1. What is TANF?

TANF provides a monetary grant to families under a program that:

  • uses income as a factor of eligibility; and

  • is partially funded by Federal block grants. (The States provide the remainder of the TANF funding. Federal and State funds are combined, and the combined funds pay for TANF programs. )

2. Names of TANF Programs

States may call their family grant program something other than TANF. For example, Iowa calls its program the “Family Investment Program,” and West Virginia, “West Virginia Works.”

Many states offer additional programs that complement the basic family grant programs. How the payments made under these programs are counted for SSI is determined by:

  • the purpose of the program (e.g., programs designed to provided medical and social services are not income),

  • the funding source, and

  • the method in which it is provided (in cash or in kind).

IMPORTANT: Consult regional POMS for information about the TANF programs within your State.

3. How States Compute TANF Grants

States and tribes are figuring their TANF grants in one of two ways:

  • Using an incremental method, where the amount of the TANF grant is increased or decreased as the number of people in the family increases or decreases, or

  • Using a flat rate method, where the amount of the TANF grant is the same for all families regardless of the size of the family.

4. Simultaneous SSI/TANF Eligibility

There is no Federal bar to simultaneous SSI/TANF eligibility. An individual may be included in a TANF grant for the same months that he or she is eligible for SSI. However, in developing their TANF programs, most States prohibited payment of TANF to SSI recipients. Consult regional instructions for information about your State.

5. Indian Tribes and TANF

Indian tribes may qualify for TANF block grants and can design and administer their own TANF programs in the same way that States do. Some Indian tribes have developed their own TANF plans, but many tribes have not.

Information about any tribal TANF programs in effect in your State will be found in regional POMS.

6. Factors That May Affect Amount of TANF Grants

a. Sanctions

A TANF recipient who fails to comply with program requirements such as those related to work, education, and child support enforcement is generally subject to sanctioning, often in the form of a financial penalty. The types of sanctions applied vary from State-to-State: the State may reduce the family's TANF grant amount, suspend TANF payments for the person not in compliance, or terminate the grant. TANF payments lost under a sanction do not count as income.

b. Overpayments

If a TANF family receives more grant money than it is due, the overpayment may be recovered by the State. During the months that the State recovers the overpayment, the TANF grant amount may be reduced.

The double-counting of income policy does not apply to TANF overpayments because the overpayment belongs to, and is recovered from, the family unit, not the recipient. The amount of TANF counted as income to an individual in a household with a TANF overpayment will be computed as if there were no recovery action.

7. Federal TANF Time Limit

Federal law sets a 60-month time limit on receipt of TANF assistance. However, there are exceptions to that time limit, and periods for which TANF recipient may not be considered subject to the time limit. There are also some States that have established a shorter time limit. The time limits will affect continued receipt of TANF, and expiration of a time limit may indicate the need for a review of continued receipt of TANF. (This may be especially relevant if the TANF recipient is a deemor.)

8. Family Cap On Incremental Rate Grant

Some States place a "cap" on TANF grants. When a TANF grant reaches the capped amount, the addition of a new member to the TANF household will not increase the TANF grant amount. For example, if the maximum grant amount payable occurs when the family reaches 8 members, the additional of the 9th family member will not increase the TANF grant amount. Therefore, the amount of the grant including the individual is the same as the amount without the individual.

NOTE: Do not confuse a family cap with a flat rate grant (SI 00830.403B.2.).

9. Child Support Pass-Through

TANF and Medicaid recipients assign their child support rights to the State as part of their obligation to cooperate with child support enforcement efforts.

Under TANF, a State may include a child support pass-through provision that allows a certain amount of the monthly child support collected to be "passed through" to the family. The pass-through amount may or may not be deducted from the TANF grant.

See SI 00830.425 for a discussion of how to count any child support passed through to the child/family.

10. Individual Development Account (IDA)

Some TANF programs allow TANF recipients to set up Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). TANF-funded IDAs are excluded from income and resources for SSI purposes. See SI 00830.665, SI 01130.678, and regional instructions.

B. POLICY

1. Income Based on Need

Because TANF programs use income as a factor of eligibility, and because a TANF family grant is partially funded by Federal block grants, TANF family grant payments are considered income based on need (IBON). The SSI claimant's share of a TANF grant is counted dollar for dollar as income and the $20 general income exclusion does not apply to this income.

IMPORTANT: There are many different programs that fall under TANF besides the TANF family grants. Because the States design their own programs, some programs are funded with State only money. The type of program and the funding source are the keys to determining how the program is treated for SSI purposes.

2. An Individual's Share of a TANF Grant

Effective with applications filed 10/01/00 or later, the method used to determine how much income an individual derives from TANF (i.e., the individual's share) will be based on the method the State uses to calculate the TANF grant.

NOTE: For applications filed BEFORE 10/01/00 (regardless of the date the claim is processed), only the incremental method can be used to determine an individual's share of a TANF grant for payments received both before and after 10/01/00.

a. Incremental Method

  • If the State computes the grant on an incremental basis (i.e., the grant generally increases or decreases with changes in the family size), use the incremental method to determine the individual's share.

  • Under the incremental method, an individual's share is determined by figuring the difference between the amount of the TANF payment actually made to the family and the TANF payment that would have been made had the individual not been included in the grant.

NOTE: Most States compute their grants on an incremental basis.

b. Per Capita Method

CAUTION: The per capita method can only be used with SSI applications filed 10/1/00 or later. The date the claim is processed does not matter; the application date is the controlling date.

  • Effective with applications filed 10/1/00 or later, if the State pays a flat rate grant (i.e., the amount of the grant is the same for all families regardless of the size of the family), use the per capita method to determine the individual's share.

  • Under the per capita method, an individual's share is determined by dividing the grant amount by the number of people in the TANF household.

IMPORTANT: Consult regional instructions to see which method applies to the TANF program in your State.

3. Family Cap On Incremental Rate Grant

Under a capped grant, when the amount of the grant including the individual is the same as the amount without the individual, the individual's share of the TANF grant is 0.

IMPORTANT: Consult regional instructions for additional information on the State TANF agencies that impose caps on family grant amounts. Family caps may apply Statewide or only in certain counties.

4. TANF Recipient Receives TANF Money After Termination Date

A State may continue to pay a TANF recipient after the termination date they give to SSA. Presume that the State will recoup any TANF overpaid after the date the State tells SSA they are going to remove the person from the grant, absent evidence or regional instructions to the contrary. In this case, the TANF paid after the stated termination date is not income for SSI purposes.

5. Cash Diversion

Under a cash diversion (CD) program, a TANF-eligible family receives a lump sum of cash from the State that enables them to avoid entering the TANF program.

  • If the CD program is funded in any part with Federal TANF funds and income is a factor in determining eligibility, the CD payments are IBON. The SSI claimant's share of a CD payment is counted dollar for dollar as income and the $20 general income exclusion does not apply. Since the CD payments are made to the family, an individual's share of the CD payment is determined under the guidelines in SI 00830.403B.2.

    EXCEPTION: If the primary purpose of the CD program is to provide medical or social services (SI 00815.050), then it is not income.

  • If the CD program is funded with State funds only and income is a factor of eligibility, we exclude the CD payments as Assistance Based on Need (ABON—see SI 00830.175).

  • If the CD program does not use income as a factor in determining eligibility, we evaluate the payment under regular income counting rules.

6. Other TANF Programs

a. Incentive Payments

Incentive payments are additional payments made to TANF recipients as a reward for complying with one or more of the requirements of the TANF program. Since these payments are income, and are partially Federally-funded and based on need, they are IBON and are counted dollar for dollar as income. The $20 general income exclusion does not apply. (See also SI 00815.050A.2.)

b. Participation Allowances

Participation allowances are payments made to TANF recipients to reimburse the recipient for an expense incurred when traveling to a training program or to a job. Since these payments are reimbursement for monies spent in complying with TANF requirements, they are considered reimbursement for expenses of obtaining income and, thus, are excluded from income (SI 00830.100).

c. Other Payments

Other payments may be made with TANF money. The purpose of the payment and the eligibility requirements for that payment will determine how the payment is treated. Consult regional instructions for any special TANF-funded payments made in your State.

C. PROCEDURE – DETERMINING AN INDIVIDUAL'S SHARE OF A TANF GRANT

1. Verify the Amount of the TANF Grant

Consult regional instructions for the appropriate verification procedures, including how and when to use rate charts, and to determine whether the State pays the TANF grant based on an incremental basis or a flat rate.

a. Contact the State Agency

Absent regional instructions, verify the information needed to determine an individual's share of a TANF grant and the TANF termination date as follows:

  1. Consult an office precedent to determine whether the State pays the TANF grant based on an incremental rate or flat rate so that you know how to develop one person's share of the grant. See SI 00830.403C.2.

  2. Contact your local State TANF agency.

  3. Ask the TANF agency to verify:

    • the amount of the TANF grant paid to the family for each month, and

    • in States that pay a incrementally computed grant, to provide the amount the grant would be without the SSI claimant(s), or

    • in States that pay a flat rate grant, the number of people in the family.

IMPORTANT: Sanctions or recovery of an overpayment may affect the amount of the TANF grant (see SI 00830.403A.6.). If the individual alleges receiving TANF in an amount that is different from the grants paid to other similar households, verify the amounts with the TANF agency, and do not use rate charts that may be in regional instructions. Compute the individual share using the amounts the State provides and following the instructions in SI 00830.403 B.2 and SI 00830.403C.

b. Information Obtained Orally

If you receive the TANF information about the payment amount or increment orally:

  • process the case based on the oral information, and

  • ask for written confirmation of the information. No follow-up on this request is required.

NOTE: Regional instructions may supersede this instruction.

c. Oral and Written Information Inconsistent

If the written confirmation you receive later is different from the oral information:

  • compute the individual's share again, using the written information, and

  • post the adjusted information to the SSR.

2. How to Calculate an Individual's Share of a TANF Grant—Incremental Method

a. Calculate the Individual's Share

When the State computes the TANF grant on an incremental basis, follow these steps to figure how much income an individual derives from TANF (i.e., the individual's share):

  • Start with the amount of the TANF payment the family received.

  • Subtract the amount the TANF payment would have been if that individual had not been included in the grant.

  • The result is the SSI claimant's share of the grant.

EXAMPLE: John Smith, a disabled child, files for SSI. He is a member of a TANF household that includes his mother and two ineligible children. The State informs you that the family's TANF grant is $650 per month and the grant without John would be $575 per month. John's share of the TANF grant is $75 ($650 minus $575).

See SI 00830.403C.4. for special rules for calculating an individual's share when there are 2 or more SSI claimants in the TANF household.

IMPORTANT: If the TANF agency advises that the family's TANF grant without inclusion of the SSI claimant is the same as, or more than, the grant with the claimant included, the TANF income received by the SSI individual is 0. If the TANF agency prefers to provide you with the amount of the individual's share, then accept this amount without further development.

b. Post the Income to the System

  • For MSSICS cases, on the IADC screen, post the TANF grant amount including the SSI claimant in the “Family Grant Amount” field and the amount without the SSI claimant in the “Amount Without Individual” field. (See MSOM MSSICS 015.005 for instructions on the IADC screen.)

  • For non-MSSICS cases, input the individual's share as type "F" income in the UM field per SM 01005.180-SM01005.185 (initial claims) or in SM 01305.200-SM 01305.215 (post-eligibility actions).

3. How to Calculate an Individual's Share of a TANF Grant—Per Capita Method

IMPORTANT: This method is only used with applications filed 10/01/00 or later. The date the claim is processed does not matter; the application date is the controlling factor for use of this calculation method.

a. Calculate the Individual Share

When the State pays a flat rate TANF grant, follow these steps to figure how much income an individual derives from TANF (i.e., the individual's share):

  • Start with the amount of the TANF payment the family received.

  • Divide the family grant by the number of individuals included in the grant to obtain the SSI claimant's share of the grant.

  • The result is the SSI claimant's share of the grant.

EXAMPLE: Mary Jones, a disabled child, files for SSI. She is a member of a TANF household that includes her mother and three ineligible children. The State informs you that the family's TANF grant is $600 per month. Mary's share of the grant is $120 per month ($600 divided by 5).

b. Post the Income to the System

  • For MSSICS cases, on the IADC screen, post the TANF grant amount in the "Family Grant Amount" field. Subtract the individual's share from the total grant and post the difference in the "Amount Without Individual" field. (See MSOM MSSICS 015.005 for instructions on the IADC screen.)

  • For non-MSSICS cases, input the individual's share as type "F" income in the UM field per SM 01005.180-SM01005.185 (initial claims) or in SM 01305.200-SM 01305.215 (post-eligibility actions).

4. Special Rules for Two or More SSI Claimants In Incremental Rate State

a. Two Or More Found Eligible And In Pay Status At Same Time

If two or more persons from the same TANF unit are found eligible for SSI benefits at the same time (i.e., will be put into pay status at the same time), follow these steps to compute the amount of TANF income for each SSI eligible person:

  • Start with the amount of the TANF payment made to the family (i.e., the amount before any of the SSI individuals are removed from the grant).

  • Subtract the amount the TANF payment would have been if the SSI-eligible individuals had not been included in the grant.

  • Divide the remainder by the number of SSI-eligible persons.

  • The result is the amount of TANF income for each SSI-eligible person.

EXAMPLE: Harold, Nancy, and Debbie file for SSI and are found eligible at the same time. They are members of a TANF household that includes 5 individuals. The amount of the TANF grant for the entire household is $600. The amount that would have been paid without Harold, Nancy, and Debbie is $330. The difference of $270 is the amount attributable to Harold, Nancy, and Debbie. Their individual shares are $90 each ($270 divided by 3).

b. Two or More Apply and One Found Eligible Before the Other

If two or more individuals from the same TANF household unit apply for SSI and one is found eligible before the other, determine the first eligible person's share per SI 00830.403C.2.

c. Two Or More Eligible For Same Period And One In Pay Status First

If two or more individuals from the same TANF unit are found eligible for the same period but one was paid SSI before the determination is made for the other, do not recompute the TANF income of the person who has already been paid. Instead, follow these steps to compute the individual shares of the TANF grant:

  • Start with the amount of the TANF payment the family received.

  • Subtract the amount the TANF payment would have been if the SSI-eligible individuals had not been included in the grant.

  • The result is the total amount of TANF income for the SSI-eligible individuals.

  • From that amount, subtract the TANF income already charged to the individual who has already been paid SSI.

  • Charge the difference as TANF income to the second and, if appropriate, subsequent persons in equal amounts.

  • Continue this computation for future months.

EXAMPLE: Bill, Susan, and Steven file for SSI and are found eligible. They are members of a TANF household that includes 5 individuals. The amount of the TANF grant for the entire household is $600. The amount that would have been paid without Bill, Susan, and Steven is $330. The difference of $270 is the amount attributable to Bill, Susan, and Steven. However, Susan was put into pay status before Bill and Steven. At that time, Susan's individual share of the TANF grant was $60. The difference between the $270 attributable to Bill, Susan, and Steven and the $60 already determined to be Susan's share is $210. Bill and Steven are charged with $105 as their individual shares.

5. Document the File

Document the file to support your determination of the TANF grant amount and the individual's share for each month on a report of contact (SSA-5002 or DROC screen), the EVID screen, or other written documentation from the TANF agency.

D. PROCEDURE—VERIFYING TANF TERMINATION

1. Verifying Termination of a TANF Grant

Most State laws prohibit the payment of TANF to an SSI recipient. However, a few allow a TANF recipient to also receive SSI. Check regional instructions to determine if, when and how to verify termination of a TANF grant.

  • Absent regional instructions, contact the State TANF agency to advise the State of the date SSI payments are awarded.

  • Verify the individual's removal from the TANF grant and the date of removal. This is required for both incrementally computed and flat rate grant States.

  • Terminate the type “F” income on the date the individual is removed from the TANF grant (as provided by the State TANF agency).

  • Do not remove TANF income from the SSR based on the recipient's allegation alone.

IMPORTANT: Do not rely upon the TANF time limits when determining TANF termination dates.

2. TANF Recipient Receives TANF Money After Termination Date

If an SSI recipient remains in the TANF grant after the date the State says they have terminated him/her:

  • Presume that the State agency will recoup the TANF overpayment, absent evidence to the contrary.

  • Do not count any TANF payments received after the reported termination date as income for SSI purposes.

3. Document the File

Document the file with the termination information provided by the State agency on a report of contact (SSA-5002 or DROC screen), the EVID screen, or other written documentation from the TANF agency.

E. PROCEDURE - FAMILY CAP PROVISION AND CASH DIVERSION PROGRAM

1. Family Cap

Consult regional instructions to determine if your State employs a family cap, i.e., a limit on the amount of TANF that can be paid to a family (see SI 00830.403A.8).

Absent regional instructions, if the State includes a family cap provision and a new member joins the TANF household, increasing the family size beyond the cap amount, determine the additional individual's share of the TANF grant to be 0.

See SI 00835.340B.2.b. for information on how the family cap affects the public assistance household determination.

2. Cash Diversion

Follow regional instructions for the CD program in your area. Absent regional instructions, follow an office precedent as to the nature of the CD program, or contact your RO staff for assistance.

F. REFERENCES

  • Electronic evidence documentation and retention, GN 00301.286

  • Coding the evidence screen in various situations, GN 00301.287

  • How to code the fields on the evidence screens, GN 00301.288

  • Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC), SI 00830.400

  • What is not income, SI 00815.000

  • Medical and social services, related cash, and in-kind items, SI 00815.050

  • Income based on need (IBON), SI 00830.170

  • Assistance based on need (ABON), SI 00830.175

  • Emergency Assistance (EA), SI 00830.405

  • Support payments - AFDC/TANF involvement, SI 00830.425

  • Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)-TANF funded, SI 00830.665, SI 01130.678

  • Effect of TANF cap on public assistance household determinations, SI 00835.340B.2.b.

  • TANF and deeming, SI 01320.141

  • Unearned income (UM) and exclusions, SM 01005.180-SM 01005.185, SM 01305.200-SM 01305.215

  • Type and ID, SM 01305.205

  • IADC screen, MSOM MSSICS 015.005

  • DROC screen, MSOM MSSICS 022.010


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830403
SI 00830.403 - Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF) - 01/31/2005
Batch run: 01/27/2009
Rev:01/31/2005