On April 9, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) announced nearly $1 billion in additional funding for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program through the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund. The additional funds were allocated by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and aim to provide temporary aid to families in crisis.
While TANF funds are typically quite flexible, the Pandemic Emergency Assistance funding is limited to “short-term non-recurrent benefits,” which are designed to deal with a specific crisis situation or episode of need and may not extend beyond four months. Although TANF is a partnership between the federal government and states, counties are responsible for administering the program in nine states and represent half of the program’s national caseload delegation.
States must submit a request to receive funds, which are allocated based on their population’s share of children and portion of prior TANF expenditures dedicated to cash assistance. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has also issued guidance to states that summarizes federal flexibilities that will help them continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
NACo applauds Congress for providing additional assistance for families during the ongoing pandemic. We will continue to monitor federal actions that aim to assist families during this crisis.
- NACo Toolkit: COVID-19 Relief for Human Services and Education Programs
- NACo COVID-19 Recovery Clearinghouse
- NACo State & Local Fiscal Recovery Fund