In July, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) posted an Information Memorandum (IM) and sent a letter to state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) officials to “notify states of the Secretary’s willingness to exercise her waiver authority under section 1115 of the Social Security Act to allow states to test alternative and innovative strategies, policies, and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families.” The notice specifies that “HHS will only consider approving waivers relating to the work participation requirements that make changes intended to lead to more effective means of meeting the work goals of TANF.” Examples provided by HHS showed the different types of projects for which a waiver might be granted, including “projects that demonstrate strategies for more effectively serving individuals with disabilities, along with an alternative approach to measuring participation and outcomes for individuals with disabilities.”
On September 4th, the General Accountability Office issued an opinion that the IM must be submitted to Congress before taking effect. Last week, two House Committees marked up a disapproval resolution H.J.Res. 118, introduced by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), to prevent implementation of the IM. A parallel measure S.J.Res. 50, introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance.
The Arc supports efforts to secure appropriate supports and services for TANF recipients with disabilities, who are estimated to make up a sizable proportion of TANF recipients.