House Holds Hearing on State TANF Waivers; Legislation to Block Waivers Introduced

Last week, the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources held a hearing on “Waiving Work Requirements in the TANF Program.” The hearing focused on the implementation of a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Information Memorandum (IM) issued July 12, 2012 notifying states that HHS will consider state proposals to waive work participation requirements under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

The HHS IM indicated “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.” 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.

Visit the Committee web site to view testimony from the hearing, including video.