Answers to your welfare worries.THE NEW FEDERAL WELFARE LAW GIVES STATES WIDE FLEXIBILITY TO CREATE SOLUTIONS FOR GETTING PEOPLE INTO JOBS. IT ALSO SETS PARAMETERS, PRESCRIBES STANDARDS AND PENALIZES STATES IF THEY DON'T COMPLY. HERE ARE THE BASICS OF THIS AMBITIOUS LEGISLATION.
Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton campaigned for president throughout 1992 by promising "to end welfare as we know it." In 1994, the Republican campaign to take over Congress - symbolized by the Contract with America In the historic 1994 midterm elections, Republicans won a majority in Congress for the first time in forty years, partly on the appeal of a platform called the Contract with America. Put forward by House Republicans, this sweeping ten-point plan promised to reshape government. - pledged to reduce the size of the federal government, balance the budget and shift responsibilities for many social programs to state and local governments.
Near the end of last summer, the Republican-con-trolled Congress and the Democratic president agreed on a massive revamping of the nation's welfare system. With its emphasis on moving people off welfare and into jobs, the new law goes a long way toward ending welfare as we know it - or as we used to know it. And, by substituting a block grant for the AFDC AFDC
Aid to Families with Dependent Children
AFDC n abbr (US) (= Aid to Families with Dependent Children) → ayuda a familias con hijos menores
AFDC n abbr entitlement program, the law indeed devolves responsibilities for welfare to state officials.
With the new statute - formally, "The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996" - the federal government does not completely relinquish authority over welfare. The law establishes broad parameters in some areas; and it is quite prescriptive pre·scrip·tive
1. Sanctioned or authorized by long-standing custom or usage.
2. Making or giving injunctions, directions, laws, or rules.
3. Law Acquired by or based on uninterrupted possession. about even the smallest details in others. Overall, though, the act consummates a trade. State legislators and governors get great latitude latitude, angular distance of any point on the surface of the earth north or south of the equator. The equator is latitude 0°, and the North Pole and South Pole are latitudes 90°N and 90°S, respectively. to design welfare programs, while the federal government gets $54 billion in deficit reduction.
The law forces state officials to think differently about welfare. Gone now is the "father knows best" federal waiver The voluntary surrender of a known right; conduct supporting an inference that a particular right has been relinquished.
The term waiver is used in many legal contexts. process. Gone is the unlimited federal entitlement money that used to come with Aid to Families with Dependent Children Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) was the name of a federal assistance program in effect from 1935 to 1997, which was administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. . Absent, too, is the requirement for state matching funds Noun 1. matching funds - funds that will be supplied in an amount matching the funds available from other sources
cash in hand, finances, funds, monetary resource, pecuniary resource - assets in the form of money . There are far fewer areas in which the federal government will issue regulations. The policy options for state legislators may not be limitless. (There are, after all, two "p" words - parameters and prescriptions.) Still, the opportunities for experimentation and innovation are far greater than they were when President Clinton first promised to end welfare as we know it, and Congressman Newt Gingrich contracted with voters to return responsibilities to the states.
HUNDREDS OF QUESTIONS
The new law, which legislatures will begin to implement in earnest when they convene CONVENE, civil law. This is a technical term, signifying to bring an action. for their 1997 sessions, naturally raises dozens, if not hundreds of questions. Here are 18 of the most important questions being asked about the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA, Pub.L. 104-193, 110 Stat. 2105, enacted 1996-08-22), is a United States federal law that was considered to be a fundamental shift in both the method and goal of federal cash . The answers are not detailed but form a primer prim·er
A segment of DNA or RNA that is complementary to a given DNA sequence and that is needed to initiate replication by DNA polymerase. on the law that should provide a general understanding.
Q. How comprehensive is the new law?
A. The new act has nine titles and is 502 pages long. It integrates several programs and activities - such as cash assistance, child support enforcement, food stamps food stamp
A stamp or coupon, issued by the government to persons with low incomes, that can be redeemed for food at stores.
Noun 1. and supplemental security income Supplemental Security Income
A Social Security program established to help the blind, disabled, and poor. - that used to be treated separately. It pulls in some of these programs - in particular, immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. , food stamps and supplemental security income - because that helps cut $54 billion from the deficit over six years.
Q. What is the biggest difference between the new law and the old system?
A. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act substitutes a block grant for an open-ended entitlement program. Financial assistance to welfare recipients used to be provided through Aid to Families with Dependent Children, a federal-state program whose funding fluctuated with the economy and the number of people who qualified for it. The new block grant - Temporary Assistance to Needy need·y
adj. need·i·er, need·i·est
1. Being in need; impoverished. See Synonyms at poor.
2. Wanting or needing affection, attention, or reassurance, especially to an excessive degree. Families (TANF TANF Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (previously known as AFDC) ) - removes many of the strings that were attached to AFDC, but limits the amount of money each state will receive each year. The law also creates a block grant for child care that consolidates four of the old programs that provided help for welfare parents.
TANF AND CHILD CARE BLOCK GRANTS, FY 1997 ($ MILLIONS) CHILD CARE CHILD CARE TANF MATCHING DISCRETIONARY AND STATES FUNDS FUNDS MANDATORY FUNDS Alabama $93 $11 $37 Alaska 64 2 5 Arizona 222 13 38 Arkansas 57 7 17 California 3,734 96 213 Colorado 136 10 21 Connecticut 267 9 26 Delaware 32 2 7 District of Columbia 93 1 7 Florida 561 36 93 Georgia 331 20 69 Hawaii 99 3 9 Idaho 32 3 8 Illinois 585 33 97 Indiana 207 15 44 Iowa 130 7 18 Kansas 102 7 19 Kentucky 181 10 35 Louisiana 164 13 41 Maine 78 3 7 Maryland 229 14 37 Massachusetts 459 15 59 Michigan 775 26 61 Minnesota 266 13 37 Mississippi 87 8 24 Missouri 215 14 43 Montana 46 2 6 Nebraska 58 5 17 Nevada 44 4 7 New Hampshire 39 3 8 New Jersey 404 21 50 New Mexico 126 5 18 New York 2,360 49 162 North Carolina 302 19 98 North Dakota 26 2 5 Ohio 728 30 106 Oklahoma 148 9 40 Oregon 168 8 29 Pennsylvania 719 30 88 Rhode Island 95 3 9 South Carolina 100 10 28 South Dakota 22 2 5 Tennessee 190 14 59 Texas 486 57 153 Utah 75 7 22 Vermont 47 2 6 Virginia 158 17 41 Washington 400 15 58 West Virginia 110 4 17 Wisconsin 318 14 39 Wyoming 22 1 4 Note: Estimated figures rounded off to millions. Money for child care programs is available in three funding streams. The third column combines the mandatory and discretionary funds that do not require a state match. Discretionary funds are available to states on Sept. 30, while mandatory and federal matching funds have been available since last October. Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Q. Who controls the new block grant funds?
A. State legislators and staff fought hard to make sure that legislatures would have a role in deciding how the block grant money will be spent. The result was inclusion of the Brown Amendment, which stipulates that the funds in the two block grants must be appropriated by the state legislature A state legislature may refer to a legislative branch or body of a political subdivision in a federal system.
The following legislatures exist in the following political subdivisions:
Q. When do we start getting the block grant money?
A. The child care block grant money started going to states in October; although some of these funds will not be available until Sept. 30, 1997.
The TANF money starts as soon as the governor submits a complete state plan. States whose AFDC caseloads have declined recently - because of improved economies and their own welfare reform efforts - will have the advantage in the short term by getting their plans in early. However, submitting the plan and receiving the money also starts several "clocks," including a five-year time limit for families receiving TANF money, federal work participation requirements and fiscal penalties on states for not complying.
Q. Do states have to match the block grant money?
A. There is no state match of the TANF block grant. However, states must continue to spend at least 80 percent of what they used to spend. (This goes down to 75 percent for states that meet work participation targets.) There are similar maintenance of effort provisions for the child care block grant.
Q. What is a state plan?
A. The law requires the state to submit a plan (really a checklist) every two years. States must ensure, for example, that they will operate a child support enforcement program, explain how they will require a parent to engage in work activities after receiving TANF money for 24 months, explain how they will administer the program and indicate how they will serve all of their political subdivisions. State plans are not subject to approval by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Noun 1. Department of Health and Human Services - the United States federal department that administers all federal programs dealing with health and welfare; created in 1979
Health and Human Services, HHS . The department merely certifies that the plan addresses each item on the checklist. The plans are subject to a 45-day public comment period.
Q. What is the legislature's role in the state plan?
A. The state plan does not have the effect of law and can be modified at any time. In some states, the governor has consulted with the legislature before submitting a plan. Any element of the state plan that requires a change in state law naturally will involve the legislature. Many states submitted fairly short and general plans simply to get the block grant money started. Many of them will probably make comprehensive statutory changes to their welfare systems over the next 12 to 24 months.
Q. How much flexibility do states have?
A. With a few exceptions, officials will have considerable latitude to create welfare programs that work best in their states. They can determine who is eligible for welfare assistance, decide the benefit levels and set the conditions for receiving assistance - for example family caps, asset limits and vehicle-value limits. State legislators and governors can choose to emphasize work and support for work, including job development and case management, transportation and child care.
Some states may choose to supplement the federal block grant money with state funds. Unless the state money is commingled with the federal money, the state money is not subject to the federal restrictions. For example, state officials could choose to provide state-funded assistance to welfare recipients even after the federal time limit has run out.
Q. What are the major restrictions on states?
A. The primary restrictions on use of the cash assistance block grant relate to time limits and work requirements. There also are numerous other mandates, restrictions and prescriptions in other parts of this comprehensive law. Particularly important are provisions relating to relating to relate prep → concernant
relating to relate prep → bezüglich +gen, mit Bezug auf +acc child support enforcement, immigrants, information systems, the food stamp program The US Food Stamp Program is a federal assistance program that provides food to low income people living in the United States. Benefits are distributed by the individual states, but the program is administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. and limits on state expenditures for administration. And there are 12 different fiscal penalties for failure to comply with various provisions of the act.
Q. One of the major features of the law is that it limits the amount of time a welfare recipient can stay on welfare. How does that work? What are the time limits? Are there exceptions?
A. There are two time limits. The first is designed to move welfare recipients into jobs. It says that adults in families receiving assistance under the TANF block grant must find work after 24 months. States are free to define what counts as employment and set minimum work hours per week.
The second limit is intended to break the cycle of welfare dependency, one of several key objectives of the legislation. It cuts off TANF money to any family that includes an adult who has received assistance for 60 months. States may use their own funds to provide assistance after five years. They may exempt up to 20 percent of their caseload case·load
The number of cases handled in a given period, as by an attorney or by a clinic or social services agency.
Noun from the five-year limit for hardships.
Q. An important component of ending welfare as we know it is moving recipients off welfare and into work. What are the work requirements in the law?
A. States have to meet work rates that get more stringent over the next six years. For example, in the current fiscal year, 25 percent of heads of household who are recipients of TANF money must participate in work activities, including jobs, community service, on-the-job training and in some cases, education and job search. The percentage increases by 5 percent a year until FY 2002, when the requirement levels off at 50 percent. States that fail to meet the work requirements face penalties that increase each year, docking them from 5 percent to 21 percent of the block grant.
Q. What does the new law mean for states with a welfare waiver?
A. Under the old system, states had to obtain waivers from the Department of Health and Human Services to deviate from federal welfare programs. By the time President Clinton signed the new law last August, 43 states had welfare waivers. They have until 90 days after the conclusion of their first regular legislative session to keep all or part of the waivers. Some states may choose to continue their waivers in order to finish demonstration projects. Others may decide to discontinue dis·con·tin·ue
v. dis·con·tin·ued, dis·con·tin·u·ing, dis·con·tin·ues
1. To stop doing or providing (something); end or abandon: some or all of their waivers in order to participate more fully in the new program - perhaps, for example, to make even more sweeping changes to their system.
In cases in which a state's waiver is inconsistent with the new law's requirements, the waiver appears to take precedence The order in which an expression is processed. Mathematical precedence is normally:
1. unary + and - signs
3. multiplication and division
4. . However, Congress ultimately may have to clarify this and several other elements of the law in technical corrections technical correction
A temporary downturn in the price of a stock or in the market itself following a period of extensive price increases. A technical correction takes place in a generally increasing market when there is no particular reason that the legislation.
Q. What will happen if a state enters a recession?
A. Under the old law, AFDC was an entitlement. It was sensitive to fluctuations in the economy. When a state's economy was good, caseloads and expenditures were down. When the economy was poor, caseloads and expenditures went up. Under the new block grant approach, it is possible that a state could run out of its TANF and child care money during a recession.
The new law contains two funds that may help states during economic downturns. States will be able to access a $2 billion contingency fund when they experience sharp increases in either their unemployment rate or the number of food stamp recipients. States also may borrow from a $1.7 billion rainy rain·y
adj. rain·i·er, rain·i·est
Characterized by, full of, or bringing rain.
Adj. day loan fund. To be eligible, a state may not have incurred any penalties under the TANF block grant.
Q. Although the centerpiece of the legislation may be the cash assistance block grant, there is also a block grant for child care. How will it work?
A. The law consolidates the Child Care Development Block Grant and AFDC/JOBS, at-risk and transitional funding into a new child care block grant. Legislators must target most of the money for child care for welfare recipients, people in work programs who are attempting to leave welfare and people at-risk of going on welfare. The child care block grant money, which totals $20 billion over six years, comes in two parts: a base allocation and matching funds. The law has the same health and safety provisions of the old child care development block grant, including requirements that relate to prevention and control of infectious diseases infectious diseases: see communicable diseases. and building safety. To meet deficit reduction targets, the law reduces by 15 percent the social services social services
welfare services provided by local authorities or a state agency for people with particular social needs
social services npl → servicios mpl sociales block grant, another source of child care funds.
Q. One of the proposals Congress considered was making the food stamp program a block grant. That didn't happen. What changes did they make to food stamps?
A. The food stamp program remains an uncapped, individual entitlement. A new work requirement has been added. Able-bodied recipients aged 18 to 50 may get food stamps for more than three months in a 36-month period only if they are engaged in work or a work program. It bans legal immigrants and most refugees from receiving food stamps. The law lets states establish a simplified food stamp program. This lets them combine a food stamp program with the TANF block grant.
Q. The act makes sweeping changes to child support enforcement. What are the new provisions?
A. Legislatures may have to make as many as 30 statutory changes to comply with this title of the act. The law creates a much more centralized system In telecommunications, a centralized system is one in which most communications are routed through one or more major central hubs. Such a system allows certain functions to be concentrated in the system's hubs, freeing up resources in the peripheral units. of child support that includes an automated national network of state information systems and an emphasis on improving interstate in·ter·state
Involving, existing between, or connecting two or more states.
One of a system of highways extending between the major cities of the 48 contiguous United States.
Noun 1. collections. It will move many states from a court-based enforcement system to an administrative one. The title contains several new mandates and preempts some state laws.
* A state's child support program must require recipients to provide paternity The state or condition of a father; the relationship of a father.
English and U.S. Common Law have recognized the importance of establishing the paternity of children. information and assign support rights to the state.
* It must enforce sanctions Sanctions is the plural of sanction. Depending on context, a sanction can be either a punishment or a permission. The word is a contronym.
Sanctions involving countries:
* It must feed child support information into a new automated tracking system and develop a directory of new hires.
* Legislatures are required to adopt the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act ("UIFSA") is a Uniform Act that has been adopted by every U.S. State, in order to address the widespread problem of non-payment of child support obligations, and to limit the jurisdiction that could properly establish and modify child and laws that withhold with·hold
v. with·held , with·hold·ing, with·holds
1. To keep in check; restrain.
2. To refrain from giving, granting, or permitting. See Synonyms at keep.
3. or suspend driver's, recreational and occupational licenses of people who owe child support.
Q. What changes does the law make to the Supplemental Security Income program?
A. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI (1) See server-side include and single-system image.
(2) (Small-Scale Integration) Less than 100 transistors on a chip. See MSI, LSI, VLSI and ULSI.
1. (electronics) SSI - small scale integration.
2. ) program provides federal income support to the aged, blind and disabled. People who qualify for SSI automatically qualify for Medicaid. The new law restricts eligibility for SSI. It bars legal immigrants and refugees in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. more than five years - unless they can prove they have worked for more than 40 quarters. It tightens the definition of "disabled children." It denies SSI benefits to current recipients who are found to have drag and alcohol abuse as a contributing factor in their disability.
Q. The law appears to place a premium on tracking welfare recipients. Does it provide funding for automation and information systems?
A. States are allowed 15 percent of their TANF money and 5 percent of their child care block grant money for administrative costs administrative costs,
n.pl the overhead expenses incurred in the operation of a dental benefits program, excluding costs of dental services provided. . However, information systems do not qualify as administrative costs; so legislatures are permitted to fund them from the rest of the block grants. The act does not provide money for interstate tracking of welfare recipients. An additional $500 million is provided for administrative costs associated with implementing new Medicaid eligibility rules eligibility rules,
n.pl the conditions that define who may be entitled to dental benefits, when persons first become entitled to such benefits, and any provisions that determine how long an individual remains entitled to benefits. .
TAKING THE NEXT STEP
Ending welfare as we know it will be a lengthy process with several steps. Passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act in August was the first step. The second step could span several years. In this stage, legislatures and governors will take advantage of the opportunities offered by the federal law to craft welfare policies responsive to the unique character and needs of each state. This process of creating 50 new welfare systems will produce many questions. When most legislatures convene early this year, the answers will come - not from the federal government - but from legislators and other state officials.
RELATED ARTICLE: KEY DATES AND DEADLINES OF THE NEW LAW
THERE ARE MORE THAN 70 EFFECTIVE DATES AND DEADLINES THROUGHOUT THE NINE TITLES OF THE NEW WELFARE REFORM LAW. MANY SPECIFICALLY SET DEADLINES FOR THE PASSAGE OF STATE LAWS. THE CHILD SUPPORT SECTION EVEN SETS A SCHEDULE FOR THE PASSAGE OF CHANGES TO STATE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS THAT ARE BARRIERS TO IMPLEMENTING THE FEDERAL LAW. HERE IS A LIST OF MAJOR EFFECTIVE DATES AND DEADLINES.
TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE TO NEEDY FAMiLiES (TANF):
Submission of a state plan: No later than July 1.
Implementation of state plan: Anytime after the 45-day comment period, unless state law changes are needed.
Penalties for not submitting reports or satisfying work requirements: Start July 1 or six months after submission of a complete state plan, whichever is later.
States start new TANF program: With enactment of state plan.
Penalties assessed: FY 1998 for FY 1997 spending.
Amendments to the state plan: Can be submitted anytime.
End federal entitlement to cash assistance, child care and JOBS program: Oct. 1, 1996.
Lifetime time limit (60 months) for families receiving federal assistance: Begins upon submission of a complete state plan.
Submission of a written request to terminate all or part of waivers: On or before 90 days after adjournment A putting off or postponing of proceedings; an ending or dismissal of further business by a court, legislature, or public official—either temporarily or permanently. of the first regular session of the legislature.
SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME FOR DISABLED CHILDREN AND ADULTS:
Disability benefits end if individual does not meet new requirements: Current applicants beginning July 1, 1997, or date of latest eligibility review.
Benefits end if drug and alcohol abuse is a contributing factor to disability (also Medicaid, Medicare, SSDI SSDI Social Security Disability Insurance
SSDI Social Security Death Index
SSDI Social Security Disability Income (common, but incorrect)
SSDI Supplemental Security Disability Income
SSDI Ship System Definition & Index ): Jan. 1, 1997.
Deny assistance to legal immigrants and refugees: Eligibility review in March 1997; denials by Aug. 22, 1997.
CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT:
Implement and enforce all changes: Already in effect with some exceptions.
Grace period for changes to state haws: No later than the first day of the first calendar quarter after the first regular session of the state legislature.
Grace period for changes to state constitutions: Aug. 22, 2001.
Adopt the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act: Jan. 1, 1998.
Implement state automated systems that link to a national database: Case registry (already in effect), directory of new hires (Oct. 1, 1997) and central collections and disbursement DISBURSEMENT. Literally, to take money out of a purse. Figuratively, to pay out money; to expend money; and sometimes it signifies to advance money.
2. (Oct. 1, 1998).
CHILD CARE BLOCK GRANT:
Funds begin: Mandatory matching funds, Oct. 1, 1996; discretionary funds, Sept. 30, 1997.
Changes in eligibility and cuts in benefits: Already in effect.
Mandatory implementation of electronic benefits transfer: Oct. 1, 2002.
Denial of benefits to legal immigrants and refugees: April to August 1997.
RELATED ARTICLE: STATES MAY BEAR THE COSTS OF HELPING IMMIGRANTS
The biggest target for federal savings in the new welfare law, $23.8 billion over seven years, is federal assistance to noncitizens. Legal immigrants and most refugees will lose access to food stamps and the Supplemental Security Income program for the elderly, blind and disabled. Regardless of the number of noncitizens in their midst, all states must have procedures to verify immigration status and limit assistance in many programs serving low-income families. Sponsors of newly arriving immigrants will be legally responsible for their well-being, a change long-sought by states. States must do the following:
* Bar noncitizens from food stamps and SSI by Aug. 22, 1997, unless they can prove either a 10-year work history, military service or that they have had refugee status in the United States for less than 5 years.
* Bar immigrants arriving after Aug. 22, 1996, from federal means-tested programs for five years and then, until citizenship is attained, apply their sponsors' income if they apply for social services.
* Bar undocumented or illegal immigrants illegal immigrant n. an alien (non-citizen) who has entered the United States without government permission or stayed beyond the termination date of a visa. (See: alien) from most federal, state and local public benefits unless a state law is enacted to provide them.
Options are available to states to determine eligibility for current immigrants for TANF, Medicaid, Title XX and state and local programs.
Many states are already estimating increased costs in state and local assistance programs as a result of the new provisions. "The law will not eliminate the need," says Virginia Delegate Karen Darner darn·er
1. One that darns.
2. Northeastern, Upper Northern, & Western U.S. See dragonfly. See Regional Note at dragonfly. . "State and local budgets and taxpayers will bear the burden." While the law allows states to bar or limit noncitizens access to state and local programs, litigation An action brought in court to enforce a particular right. The act or process of bringing a lawsuit in and of itself; a judicial contest; any dispute.
When a person begins a civil lawsuit, the person enters into a process called litigation. is likely to contest state laws. A 1971 Supreme Court Case, Graham vs. Richardson, found that states cannot make distinctions between legal immigrants and citizens without violating the 14th amendment's equal protection clause The Equal Protection Clause, part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, provides that "no state shall… deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. .
There is no doubt that these provisions are controversial. When President Clinton signed the welfare law, he singled out the immigrant restrictions as "too harsh" and said he wants to revisit re·vis·it
tr.v. re·vis·it·ed, re·vis·it·ing, re·vis·its
To visit again.
A second or repeated visit.
re the issue. Just before adjournment, the 104th Congress delayed implementation of the food stamp provisions until April. Additional pressure to change these provisions may come from states with increasing costs and pending litigation.
State actions on this subject are reported monthly in Immigrant Policy News. Call Kirsten Rasmussen of the NCSL NCSL National Conference of State Legislatures
NCSL National College for School Leadership
NCSL National Conference of Standards Laboratories
NCSL National Council of State Legislators
NCSL National Computer Systems Laboratory (NIST) Immigrant Policy Project, for a subscription or information on how to find it on the Internet. (202) 624-5882.
RELATED ARTICLE: MAKING SURE LEGISLATORS HAVE A SAY
A key section of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act guarantees that legislatures will shape the new welfare systems in their states. Known as the Brown Amendment (named after its chief sponsor, former Colorado Senator Hank Brown George Hanks "Hank" Brown (born 1940) is a former Republican politician and Senator from Colorado who is currently president of the University of Colorado system.
Brown was born in Denver in 1940, and graduated from college in 1961 and from law school in 1969, both from the ), the provision requires that state legislatures appropriate the money coming to the states through the law's two block grants.
State legislators, led by Colorado Senate President Tom Norton, mounted a bipartisan campaign to include the amendment when early drafts of welfare legislation ceded block grant spending decisions to governors. Several hundred legislators and legislative staff participated in the effort. The legislators and staff appealed to the institutional loyalties of members of Congress, arguing that they would not want to abdicate ab·di·cate
v. ab·di·cat·ed, ab·di·cat·ing, ab·di·cates
To relinquish (power or responsibility) formally.
To relinquish formally a high office or responsibility. similar authority to the president - especially when it involves something as fundamental as the power of the purse The power of the purse is the ability of one group to manipulate and control the actions of another group by withholding funding, or putting stipulations on the use of funds. The power of the purse can be used positively (e.g. . They extolled the advantages of openness and deliberation deliberation n. the act of considering, discussing, and, hopefully, reaching a conclusion, such as a jury's discussions, voting and decision-making.
DELIBERATION, contracts, crimes. that the legislative process brings to appropriations and other decisions affecting the welfare program.
In the end, the amendment was included in all of the major welfare reform proposals. New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Senator James Lack, NCSL past president, called that accomplishment "one of NCSL's greatest lobbying successes of the past several years."
Approximately 40 legislatures are able to appropriate most federal money that flows into their states. The Brown amendment expands that practice to the 50 state legislatures for the purpose of the new TANF and child care block grants. Because appropriations decisions are so central in shaping any program, the amendment's effect probably will be to enhance legislatures' influence over other nonbudget aspects of the new welfare programs.
RELATED ARTICLE: THE WORK MANDATE
1. Having a plane surface; flat.
2. Organized as a table or list.
3. Calculated by means of a table.
resembling a table. DATA OMITTED]
The federal legislation establishes work participation rates that increase over time. States must have a minimum of 25 percent of the adults enrolled in their welfare programs working at least 20 hours a week this fiscal year. The rate increases gradually to 50 percent of all adults working 30 hours a week by FY 2002. There is a higher rate for two-parent families.
The statute limits what counts as work - particularly job search, job readiness and education. States that are able to reduce their assistance caseloads from the FY 1995 level (changes in eligibility don't count) earn a reduction in their work requirement. This little-noticed provision will help states in the early years because caseloads have been down. If caseloads rise above FY 1995 levels, states face the full rate in the next fiscal year.
States have a large stake in meeting these work requirements. Failure results in a penalty of 5 percent of the state's block grant. The penalty increases by 2 percent each year the state continues to fail to meet the requirements, up to a maximum of 21 percent.
RELATED ARTICLE: OVERVIEW OF WELFARE REFORM LAW (P.L. 104-193)
The new federal welfare reform law does much more than redesign re·de·sign
tr.v. re·de·signed, re·de·sign·ing, re·de·signs
To make a revision in the appearance or function of.
re Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). It makes broad changes to an array of federal programs and policies that are outside the sphere of traditional federal policy. An outline and brief summary of the nine titles of the new law are:
Title I: Block Grants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, often pronounced "TAN-if") is the July 1, 1997, successor to the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, providing cash assistance to indigent American families with dependent children through the United States Department of . Repeals the AFDC program and ends the 60-year-old entitlement to federal cash assistance. Consolidates AFDC cash, administration, emergency assistance and JOBS funds into a block grant to states, called the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant. Sets a five-year lifetime limit on benefits. Requires states to put large percentages of their welfare caseloads into work activities.
Title II: Supplemental Security Income. Creates a new way to determine if a child is disabled.
Title III Title III Program is a U.S. Federal Grant Program to improve education History
The Title III Program began as part of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which sought to provide support to strengthen various aspects of the schools through a formula grant program to accredited, : Child Support. Requires states to create statewide automated systems to track all new hires and child support orders. Increases the paternity establishment rate that states must meet from 75 percent to 90 percent. Increases the authority of state enforcement agencies to subpoena subpoena (səpē`nə) [Lat.,=under penalty], in law, an order to a witness to appear before a court. A subpoena ad testificandum [Lat. personal information and order genetic tests. Requires states to pass laws Pass laws in South Africa were designed to segregate the population and were one of the dominant features of the country's apartheid system. Introduced in South Africa in 1923, they were designed to regulate movement of black Africans into urban areas. to revoke To annul or make void by recalling or taking back; to cancel, rescind, repeal, or reverse.
revoke v. to annul or cancel an act, particularly a statement, document, or promise, as if it no longer existed. driver's, professional and recreational licenses for those who are delinquent in providing support.
Title IV: Restricting Welfare and Public Benefits for Aliens. Eliminates food stamp and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility for most legal immigrants. Bars all legal immigrants entering the country after Aug. 22, 1996 from most federal programs for their first five years in the country. Mandates that states put systems in place to verify immigration status when determining eligibility. Compels states to include a sponsor's income with legal immigrant's income when immigrant applies for most federal programs.
Title V: Child Protection. Continues foster care and adoption, family preservation Family preservation was the movement to help keep children at home with their families rather than in foster homes or institutions. This movement was a reaction to the earlier policy of Family Breakup, which pulled children out of unfit homes. , child abuse prevention and treatment, and other child welfare programs. Extends state access to 75 percent in federal matching funds for state child welfare information and computer systems.
Title VI: Child Care. Ends individual entitlement to child care benefits and caps child care funds to states. Consolidates funds into a single child care block grant to states. Block grant funds increase over time to meet the demand of work requirements. A portion of the funds must be matched by states.
Title VII: Child Nutrition Programs. Reduces the reimbursement Reimbursement
Payment made to someone for out-of-pocket expenses has incurred. rate for the Summer Food Service Program for school children. Creates a two-tier reimbursement structure for the child and adult care food program The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a type of United States Federal assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to States in order to provide a daily subsidized food service for an estimated 2. .
Title VIII: Food Stamps and Commodity Distribution. Reduces the maximum food stamp benefit level and eligibility. Requires work for single, able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 50.
Title IX: Miscellaneous. Requires that state legislatures appropriate TANF and child care block grants before states spend these funds.
RELATED ARTICLE: NEXT FROM THE FEDS
Devolution devolution n. the transfer of rights, powers, or an office (public or private) from one person or government to another. (See: devolve)
DEVOLUTION, eccl. law. to the states does not mean that the feds are out of the welfare business. In fact, federal agencies like the Health and Human Services Noun 1. Health and Human Services - the United States federal department that administers all federal programs dealing with health and welfare; created in 1979
Department of Health and Human Services, HHS (HHS HHS Department of Health and Human Services. ), Agriculture and Justice departments and the Social Security Administration are just beginning to issue rules and regulations to interpret the law. Congressional oversight Congressional Oversight refers to oversight by the United States Congress of the Executive Branch, including the numerous U.S. federal agencies. Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report for Congress
Congressional Oversight and bill drafting have already begun.
Although much has been made of the new law's restrictions of HHS regulation of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grants, HHS must make rules for provisions that allow the secretary to impose financial penalties on states for violation of such things as work requirements and time limits. In addition, legislators can expect federal regulations on issues such as child care, child support, benefits to disabled children, food stamps, Medicaid and immigration. Federal regs often are more restrictive than the laws that authorize To empower another with the legal right to perform an action.
The Constitution authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce.
authorize v. to officially empower someone to act. (See: authority) them and can lead to policymaking pol·i·cy·mak·ing or pol·i·cy-mak·ing
High-level development of policy, especially official government policy.
Of, relating to, or involving the making of high-level policy: under the guise Guise (gēz, gwēz), influential ducal family of France. The First Duke of Guise
The family was founded as a cadet branch of the ruling house of Lorraine by Claude de Lorraine, 1st duc de Guise, 1496–1550, who received of interpretation. Proposed rules will be printed in the Federal Register with a request for comments. In the past, comments from state legislators have changed proposed rules.
After the passage of any major piece of legislation, drafting errors usually are found that are contrary to the intent of Congress and have unintended consequences For the "Law of unintended consequences", see Unintended consequence
Unintended Consequences is a novel by author John Ross, first published in 1996 by Accurate Press. . These errors often are resolved in a "technical corrections" bill. For example, at the moment, state expenditures on legal immigrants ineligible in·el·i·gi·ble
1. Disqualified by law, rule, or provision: ineligible to run for office; ineligible for health benefits.
2. to receive public assistance do not count as part of state maintenance requirements. It does not matter that Congress had intended to allow it.
In any technical corrections legislation, there is always a fine line between technical and policy change. As states implement the new law, they are identifying a number of areas that require substantive changes. For example, the law does not allow state officials to directly transfer TANF funds to the Social Services Block Grant. They must first transfer funds through the child care block grant. There are no provisions to allow states any leeway lee·way
1. The drift of a ship or an aircraft to leeward of the course being steered.
2. A margin of freedom or variation, as of activity, time, or expenditure; latitude. See Synonyms at room. from the two-parent work requirement if one of the parents is incapacitated in·ca·pac·i·tate
tr.v. in·ca·pac·i·tat·ed, in·ca·pac·i·tat·ing, in·ca·pac·i·tates
1. To deprive of strength or ability; disable.
2. To make legally ineligible; disqualify. . Many state legislators would like to see even more changes to work requirements and immigrant restrictions. It is precisely these kinds of policy changes that thwart political compromises and add to the time it takes to pass a technical corrections bill.
Will the rancor of the political debate in Congress during welfare reform continue in a technical corrections bill? Possibly
When President Clinton signed the welfare bill, he said the provisions that restrict benefits for legal immigrants and cut food stamp eligibility should be revisited. Oklahoma Senator Don Nickles Donald Lee Nickles (born December 6, 1948) is an American political leader who was a United States Senator from Oklahoma from 1981 until 2005. He is a member of the Republican Party. While in the U.S. and Texas Senator Phil Gramm William Philip "Phil" Gramm (born July 8, 1942, in Fort Benning, Georgia, USA) served as a Democratic Congressman (1978–1983), a Republican Congressman (1983–1985) and a Republican Senator from Texas (1985–2002). are concerned about loopholes in the law's work requirements. They support legislation to prevent states from using their welfare waivers to weaken those requirements. On the other hand, some members of Congress advocate new funds for state work programs and easing work requirements. Look for moderates in both parties to forge a compromise.
Legislators can expect Congress and the media to be watching state policymaking. The Ways and Means WAYS AND MEANS. In legislative assemblies there is usually appointed a committee whose duties are to inquire into, and propose to the house, the ways and means to be adopted to raise funds for the use of the government. This body is called the committee of ways and means. Committee has held a hearing to study state implementation. Reporters are scrutinizing policies and programs and comparing reforms between states. They are diligently dil·i·gent
Marked by persevering, painstaking effort. See Synonyms at busy.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin d watching for any misuse of the law's flexibility. This may provide momentum for further federal action.
Carl Tubbesing is NCSL's deputy executive director; Sheri Steisel is NCSL's expert on federal welfare reform. Jon Dunlap contributed to this story.