Friday, April 3, 2009

Recovery Act Provides $5 Billion to Assist Needy Families

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced
the availability of up to an additional $5 billion in emergency funding
for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. This new
Emergency Fund, established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act of 2009, will help states serve more families seeking employment
opportunities and other forms of assistance during the economic

"More Americans have lost their jobs and their health care and they are
struggling to put food on the table," said HHS Spokeswoman Jenny Backus.
"The Recovery Act gives states the resources and the flexibility to
ensure they provide assistance and employment opportunities that will
help get more Americans back on their feet."

In order to be eligible to receive resources from the Emergency Fund, a
state must demonstrate an increase in the number of families receiving
assistance from the TANF program or an increase in expenditures on
employment subsidies or short-term, one-time benefits in at least one
quarter during Fiscal Years 2009 or 2010.

In addition, the Recovery Act provides states with more flexibility in
using TANF funds unspent from prior years to assist families in need and
temporarily modifies the caseload reduction credit to ensure states are
not punished as the number of families seeking assistance increase
during these difficult economic times. The Recovery Act also continues
a supplemental grant program that provides additional support to 17
states with growing populations.

Recovery Act funds used to support the TANF program will be subject to
the same rules and restrictions as other TANF funds. Existing federal
work requirements and time limits apply to families receiving assistance
with Recovery Act funds exactly as they do to families receiving other
federal TANF-funded assistance.

"Americans are seeking the security and dignity that comes with a job
and millions are doing all they can to find work in one of the worst
economic downturns in our history," added Backus. "The Recovery Act
reinforces work and responsibility and helps ensure hard-working
Americans support their families as they continue to seek work or hold
onto a job during tough times."

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