Category Descriptions

Categories:

Activities exemptions

Description:

This category identifies which individuals in an assistance unit are exempt from participating in Activities Requirements. The exemptions reflect the exact description in the state's manuals and/or regulations. If an individual does not have any of the characteristics outlined in these variables, they are considered non-exempt and must participate in the requirements described in the Activities Requirement category.

Under the old AFDC rules, exempt persons included persons who were: ill or incapacitated; the caretaker of someone ill or incapacitated; the caretaker of a child under three or a child under 6 if child care is not guaranteed; working 30 hours or more per week; a child under 16 or under 18 and attending school; a woman in the second trimester of pregnancy; or residing in an area where JOBS was not available.

Overlap Issues:

·This category is coded using the exact exemption criteria for each state's formal activities/work program, as outlined in each state's manual and/or regulations. Some states exempt children and minor parents from their formal activities programs, while other states do not. If dependent children and/or minor parents are not exempt (that is, their activities requirements are considered a part of the state's formal activities program), their requirements are coded in Activities Requirements category. In addition, the requirements of dependent children and minor parents are also captured in the School Policies for Dependent Children and Minor Parent Activity Requirements and Bonuses categories, respectively, regardless of whether these persons are exempt or non-exempt from the state's formal activities program.

Special Issues:

  1. Notes about exemptions that apply differently to minor parents appear in the variable at the bottom of the form (beginning in 2001). Prior to 2001, minor parent differences were captured in the notes field next to the particular exemption policies that varied.
  2. Notes about exemptions that apply differently to two parent households appear in the variable at the bottom of the form.
[Variables]

Activities requirements

Description:

Activities Requirements

The Activities Requirements category outlines each state's activity/work program, exactly as the state manual describes the program. The category includes the rules that require applicants and/or recipients to participate in education, job training and/or work in order to maintain eligibility or avoid a sanction. There are three major aspects of activities requirements: when is the requirement imposed, who must meet the requirement and what must the recipient and/or applicant do in order to meet the requirement.

This category describes when the requirement is imposed, including at least two possible situations. A state may impose a certain requirement after an assistance unit has received assistance for a specified number of month. For example, after receiving assistance for 60 days a recipient must participate in Activities Requirement #1, by taking part in job search or training 20 hours per week. Alternatively, an Activities Requirement may be imposed after a recipient has participated in the previous Activities Requirement for a specified amount of time or until completion. For example, after a recipient completes the job training program (Activities Requirement #1), the recipient must participate in a subsidized or unsubsidized job for 20 hours a week or more (Activities Requirement #2).

This category also captures which individuals within an assistance unit must meet each of the Activities Requirements. This variable is different from the header variable "Unit Type" which indicates the type of units to which a particular set of rules applies. (For more information regarding the use of the "Unit Type" variable, see the codebook.) Under AFDC rules, all non-exempt recipients were required to participate in education, job training and/or work activities. Alternatively, activities requirements may only apply to a sub-group of non-exempt participants. For instance, non-exempt recipients, who have received assistance for 24 months, may receive a different activities requirement.

Finally, this category describes each Activities Requirement, including the allowable activities in which a non-exempt recipient may participate and minimum and/or maximum time a recipient must participate. Under AFDC, the Activities Requirement consisted of participation in allowable JOBS activities to the extent that those services were available. Under waivers and TANF, states have changed the allowable activities as well as the time a recipient is required to participate.

"Work Requirement Time Limit"

In addition to outlining all activities requirements, this category provides a summary of the state's "work requirement time limit," if one exists. The term "work requirement time limit" is often used; however, the term is not always used in a consistent manner. To prevent any confusion, the term "work related time limit," when used in the database, has a very specific definition.

In order for a state policy to be consider a "work requirement time limit," a state must require a non-exempt parent/caregiver to work at least 20 hours/week in a "real job" after receiving benefits for a specified period of time. A "real job" includes participation in one or more of the following activities: A subsidized or unsubsidized job, participation in CWEP/AWEP, self employment or work as a child care provider for children other than ones own. In addition, failure to meet this requirement must result in one of the following sanctions to qualify as a "work requirement time limit": removal of the parent/caregiver from the unit when calculating benefits or the ineligibility of the entire unit. (Note: Some financial sanctions may be more severe than the removal of the parent/caregiver; however, they are not considered time limits because no one in the unit becomes ineligible.) Finally, the failure to meet the requirement is only considered a "work requirement time limit" if the penalty is imposed until compliance or for the lifetime of the unit.

If a state policy meets these requirements, this category summarizes information on the "work requirement time limit." This summary information includes the number of months after which participation in a "real job" is required, the sanction imposed for non-compliance, the duration of the sanction, as well as the Activities Requirement under which additional information on this requirement is coded.

Overlap Issues:

·Activities Requirements must be used in conjunction with two other categories. The Activities Exemptions category captures the individuals within each unit that are exempt from any requirements. The Activities Sanctions category outlines the sanctions imposed on non-exempt individuals that do not comply with the requirements outlined in this category.

·This category is coded using the exact exemption criteria for each state's formal activities/work program, as outlined in each state's manual and/or regulations. Some states exempt children and minor parents from their formal activities programs, while other states do not. If dependent children and/or minor parents are not exempt (that is, their activities requirements are considered a part of the state's formal activities program), their requirements are coded in this category. However, separate categories exist for each of these groups: School Policies for Dependent Children and Minor Parent Activity Requirements and Bonuses. These categories capture all information regarding the activities requirements of children and minor parents, regardless of whether these persons are exempt or non-exempt from the state's formal activities program. If children and/or minor parents are included in the state's formal Activities Requirements program, their requirements appear in 2 categories.

Special Issues:

·When to use the "Unit Type" variable in the header versus the "Activities Requirement #1-5 applies to:" variable:

When activities requirements vary by type of unit (i.e. one or two parent units, units headed by a minor parent or child only units, including unit distinguished by whether or not the unit has earnings), an Activities Requirement record should be coded for each type of unit for which rules vary. However, if the activities requirements vary by characteristics of unit members (i.e. age of youngest child or educational background of parent/caregiver), only one record should be coded. Differences in activities requirements for unit members with different characteristics should be captured using the "Activities Requirement #1-5 applies to:" variable within one Activities Requirements record.

·Within a given record, a new requirement is coded if "When is Activities Requirement #1-5 imposed?" or "Activities Requirement #1-5 applies to:" is different.

·Capturing the interaction/movement between activities requirements in the same record.

If several activities requirements apply to one group of non-exempt participants, the requirements should be coded in the order of application (Activities Requirement #1 through #5). If there are two sub-groups within a record, the requirements for one group should be coded in order of application. After all the requirements for the first sub-group are coded, the requirements for the second group should be coded in the order of application.

[Variables]

Activities sanctions

Description:

This category captures the sanctions imposed on non-exempt recipients that do not comply with the activities requirements outlined in the Activities Requirements category. Each sanction in the state is outlined beginning with the first sanction imposed for non-compliance with the Activities Requirement #1 (Activities Sanction #1). After each sanction for Activities Requirement #1 is coded in the order in which they would be imposed, the first sanction for failing to meet Activities Requirement #2 is coded. This process continues for all activities requirements and their corresponding sanctions. The details pertaining to each sanction include: the reasons for imposing the sanction, whether a conciliation process exists, whether the sanction includes a benefit reduction, the details of the sanction and the effect of the sanction on other assistance programs, such as Food Stamps, Medicaid and child care subsidy programs. This category also provides a variable that summarizes the worst case sanction imposed in the state for failing to meet an activities requirement. In order to completely understand when this sanction is imposed, users must read through the detailed listing of all the possible sanctions.

Overlap Issues:

·The Activities Sanctions category must be used in conjunction with two other categories. The Activities Exemptions category captures the individuals that are exempt from any requirements. The Activities Requirements category outlines the activities requirements that apply to non-exempt individuals.

·This category is coded using the exact exemption criteria for each state's formal activities/work program, as outlined in each state's manual and/or regulations. Some states exempt children and minor parents from their formal activities programs, while other states do not. If dependent children and/or minor parents are not exempt (that is, their activities requirements are considered a part of the state's formal activities program), their sanctions for not meeting the requirements are coded in this category. However, the activities sanctions for dependent children and minor parents are also captured in the School Policies for Dependent Children and Minor Parent Activity Requirements and Bonuses categories, respectively, regardless of whether or not they are exempt from the state's formal activities program.

Special Issues:

·Sanctions should be coded in the order in which they are imposed.

[Variables]

Asset test

Description:

Asset Test includes information on the type and amount of assets an assistance unit may hold. Some states have two separate asset limits. One policy limits the value of unrestricted assets. The other limits the value of assets set aside for a designated purpose. These types of programs are often called Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). IDAs and other restricted savings programs are referred to as restricted asset limits. In addition, the category outlines the value of a vehicle that is exempt and whether a vehicle's value is based on equity or fair market value.

Some assets have historically been excluded when determining eligibility and benefits. It is assumed that these types of income are excluded unless mentioned in the "Additional notes" section.

Historically excluded assets:

Bona fide funeral agreement, burial trust or contract up to $1,500 per unit member

Burial plot for each unit member

Home Property

Essential household items/Furnishings

Assets which are essential for self-employment

Federally Excluded Payments:

Native American judgement funds

Relocation Assistance

Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act

Any bona fide loan

Any grant, loan, or work study payment for an undergraduate's education

Payments to volunteers under Title 1

Supplemental food assistance under the Child Nutrition Act

Supplemental food assistance under the National School Lunch Act

Reimbursements to foster grandparents, senior health aides or senior companions

HUD utility cost subsidy and retroactive tax

Disaster Relief

Agent Orange Settlement Payments

Radiation Exposure Compensation

Japanese Restitution

Payments to victims of Nazi prosecution

Life Insurance Policies

Energy Assistance Payments

Overlap Issues:

  • IDA and similar restricted savings programs are captured in this category. If a state allows assistance units to disregard current earnings placed into a regular savings account during the month received (a policy separate from IDA and the like), the rule is captured in the Earned Income Disregards category.
  • Some states classify EITC and lump sums payments as assets; however, they are coded in the Countable Income category.
  • Special treatment of children's assets is captured in the Income and Assets of Children category

Special Issues:

  • States often have different limits for applicants and recipients. For these states, 2 records are coded based on Unit Type: one for applicants and one for recipients.
[Variables]

Benefit computation

Description:

This category examines how benefits are calculated for an assistance unit. Under AFDC, benefits varied from assistance unit to assistance unit based on each unit's net income (as well as by family size). However, under waivers and TANF, benefits may vary by hours worked or may be set at a flat amount. This category outlines the benefit formula as well as the dollar amounts used in the formula. It also captures whether a state prorates benefits for assistance units who share a living space with non-recipients. Finally, the category includes information regarding the benefit calculation for assistance units who have recently moved to the state.

Overlap Issues:

  • Definitions of State Dollar Amounts #1-3 are contained in the Dollar Amount category.
  • The exact values of the Benefit Standard and Maximum Benefit for all family sizes are contained in the Dollar Amount category.
  • The definition of net income for a given state in calculated based on information contained in Countable Income, Income and Assets of Children, Earned Income Disregards, Child Support, Family Caps, In Kind Income and Deemed Income.

Special Issues:

  • None
[Variables]

Child support

Description:

The Child Support category contains information on each state's child support enforcement rules that impact welfare recipients. The variables focus only on requirements and policies affecting the custodial parent and do not concentrate on license suspension, new-hire reporting, and other rules that affect the non-custodial parent.

The Child Support Enforcement law of 1975 provided federal matching funds to states in order to identify, located and collect child support from fathers. This legislation introduced many new requirements and established child support distribution policies for AFDC applicants and recipients. These policies include requiring all recipients to assign their support rights to the state, to cooperate in establishing paternity and securing support and creating pass-through and fill-the-gap policies. Although these polices were federal standards, under AFDC waivers, states began experimenting with different pass-through amounts and cooperation requirements. Under TANF, the state must still enforce child support collection, but they are allowed extensive program flexibility.

Overlap Issues:

·Sanctions for non-cooperation with child support enforcement are coded in the Child Support Sanctions category.

·Information on calculating the assistant unit's benefit is captured in the Benefit Computation category, but the child support pass-through and child support counted as unearned income are discussed only in the Child Support category.

·The amount of unearned income from child support payments that is disregarded is not captured in the Earned Income Disregard category, but is captured here.

Special Issues:

None

[Variables]

Child support sanctions

Description:

The Child Support Sanctions category includes information on sanctions resulting from the failure to meet child support cooperation requirements.

The consequence of failing to meet a child support cooperation requirement is coded as a sanction only if it results in a direct penalty. Most often, this penalty is financial. Requiring the distribution of benefits through a protective payee is also considered a sanction because it directly impacts the receipt of benefits. However, consequences that are designed to avoid a financial or other direct penalty are considered conciliation processes, not sanctions. For example, consequences such as discussing the problem with a case worker, developing a formal plan for addressing the problem, and even "probationary periods" in which the requirement becomes more stringent are forms of conciliation and therefore are not included as a sanction.

Sanctions often are chronological. For example, the first time non-cooperation occurs, sanction #1 applies. If the problem continues or recurs despite the first sanction, then sanction #2 and sanction #3 applies.

Under AFDC there was only one sanction policy; the custodial parent was removed from the grant until compliance. However, under TANF, states have much more flexibility. Although the federal government requires a minimum sanction of 25% of the benefit be deducted for noncompliance, states may eliminate up to the entire benefit and may create a series of sanction policies.

 

Overlap Issues:

·The child support sanctions category corresponds to the Child Support category. All sanctions stem from the failure to cooperate with child support enforcement requirements.

Special Issues:

None

[Variables]

Components

Description:

This category summarizes the components in effect in a given state for a given year. Components exist in a state if the state divides its caseload into mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive groups that are treated differently across more than one category of rules. Furthermore, the definitions of the groups involve more than one characteristic, eliminating the possibility of coding the different groups using the Unit Type variable.

Due to the difficulty of determining when components exist, a rule of thumb has been established. Code groups as components when the state treats the groups separately. A state may indicate that it views the groups separately in several ways. If the state capitalized the name of each group in their manual or regulations, these groups are treated as different components in the database. Alternatively, if the state uses bold type for the group names, these groups are also treated as different components in the database.

For example, Montana has three components that were created under their waiver (Families Achieving Independence for Montana) and continued under TANF. The three components (as named by the state) are: the Job Supplement Program (JSP), the Pathways Program and the Community Service Program (CSP).

  • JSP: This program is intended to divert applicants from welfare receipt by providing support services (such as, Medicaid and child care assistance) and a one-time employment-related payment. This program is completely optional and participants must still meet AFDC/TANF eligibility requirements.

  • Pathways: New applicants who do not opt for the JSP are required to participate in Pathways. Pathways requires a family to complete a Family Investment Agreement (FIA) and limits benefits for adults to 24 months. After the time limit expires, the family enters the CSP.

  • CSP: Recipients whose time limits have expired are moved in CPS. CPS requires that recipients participate in job search or community service for 20 hours per week in order to continue receiving benefits.

Overlap Issues:

  • Components coded in this category may or may not appear in other categories of the database. If a state has two or more components, each component has a separate record for the categories in which the rules vary by component. If the rules do not differ by component for a particular category, separate records are not coded.

Special Issues:

  • The Component key variable is always coded 0.

  • The Unit Type key variable is always coded All (1).

[Variables]

Contracts and agreements

Description:

This category fulfills a dual purpose. First, it identifies whether a state has a formal contract, agreement, or plan with recipients. If so, this category outlines the requirements included in that agreement. In addition, the category provides a summary of a state's behavioral requirements.

The following requirements are included in this category:

  1. time limits
  2. minor parent residency requirements
  3. cooperation with child support enforcement
  4. drug and alcohol screening and/or treatment
  5. immunization and/or health screening
  6. school requirements including attendance, and parental involvement
  7. parenting classes/family skills training
  8. other behavioral requirements.

This category does not include employment and training requirements nor does it include agreements that only include employment and training requirements.

For each type of requirement, the Contracts and Agreements category has two yes/no variables. The first variable identifies whether or not the requirement is included in a formal agreement. The second variable identifies whether or not the requirement is required at all, regardless of whether or not it is included in an agreement. Different states may have the same requirements, but one state may put the requirements in a formal, written agreement, while the other state may have the requirements without an agreement.

Sometimes the content of the agreement depends on the needs of the recipient; therefore, the items included in an agreement vary for different recipients in a state. For example, minor parent residency requirements are included only in minor parent recipients contracts. Consequently, "required" is defined as "required for someone, not necessarily everyone." If an item, such as minor parent residency requirement, is at least sometimes included in an agreement, the "included in agreement" column should be coded "yes" and the "required" column should also be coded "yes."

Under AFDC, states with approved waivers could use contracts and agreements. TANF neither requires nor prohibits contracts and agreements.

Coding:

If the manual indicates that the agreement will include items "such as...", code yes in the "Included in Contract" column for those items specifically mentioned and ? for the other items that could possibly be included (i.e. those required regardless of the agreement and those not mentioned in the manual). Similarly, if the manual states that the agreement "will include items x, y, and z, and other requirements as appropriate," code yes in the "Included in Contract" column for those items specifically mentioned and ? for the other items that could possibly be included (i.e. those required regardless of the agreement and those not mentioned in the manual).

If you know that an item is not required, then code "no" for that item in the "Included in Contract" column because items that are not required cannot be included in the contract.

Included in Contract:

Yes = Yes, item is included in contract for at least some people covered by the record.

No = Agreement items are specified and this item was not mentioned as a requirement.

? = Agreement is said to include items "such as.." or "as necessary" or "at a minimum...", etc., implying that other items not specifically mentioned could be included in at least some of the Agreements.

Required:

Yes = Yes, item is required of at least some people covered by the record.

No = The item is not required of anyone covered by the record

? = Not mentioned in the manual, unsure if that means it is not required

Possible combinations: Combinations that are NOT possible:

Included in Agreement

Required, whether or not included in Agreement

 

Included in Agreement

Required, whether or not included in Agreement

No

No

 

?

No

No

Yes

 

Yes

No

?

?

 

Yes

?

?

Yes

     

Yes

Yes

     
         

Overlap Issues:

·This category does not include the details of the requirements, it merely summarizes whether the requirements exist. Details on time limit, minor parent residency, child support cooperation, immunization/health screening and school requirements can be found in their corresponding categories.

·Given these overlap issues, it may be simplest to code the Contracts and Agreements category after coding all other categories.

·Unit type for this category should always be coded as "All" (1). All distinction between provisions that are only required of certain unit types or individuals should be outlined in the notes variable corresponding to that provision.

Special Issues:

·Even if a state does not have a contract or agreement, the general requirement section of this form MUST be coded. Do Not Skip this Form!

[Variables]

Countable income

Description:

This category examines the kinds of income that are counted in determining eligibility and benefits. Specifically, it covers the treatment of interest income, dividend income, EITC income, lump sum income and casual/inconsequential income.

Some income has historically been excluded when determining eligibility and benefits. It is assumed that these types of income are excluded unless mentioned in the "Additional notes" section.

Historically excluded income:

Energy Assistance Payments

Bona fide Loans

Education Loans

Agent Orange Payments

Radiation Payments

Payments to Native Americans

Foster Care Payments

Relocation Assistance

Disaster Relief Payments

Work Study

Overlap Issues:

  • If state counts EITC or lump sum as assets, not income in month it is received, treatment of EITC and lump sum should still be coded in this category. However, the treatment of this income should be clearly explained in variable field and its corresponding notes field.
  • Disregards from earned income are captured in the Earned Income Disregard category.
  • Treatment of child support income is described in the Child Support category.
  • Deeming of income from persons outside the assistance unit is covered in the Deemed Income category.
  • Treatment of children's income is outlined in the Income and Assets of Children category

Special Issues:

  • Because these are general rules, the Unit Type variable is generally be coded as "all."
[Variables]

Deemed income

Description:

In general, only the income of assistance unit members is used to determine the unit's eligibility and benefit. But under certain circumstances, some income from persons outside of the assistance unit is "deemed" available to the unit (regardless of whether or not it is in fact available). This "deemed" income is added to the unit's own income when determining eligibility and benefits.

This category is divided into three sub-sections by types of people outside the unit:

  1. stepparents who live in the household but outside the unit;
  2. grandparents (parents of minor parents) who live in the household but outside the unit;
  3. grandparents (parents of minor parents) who live outside the household of the minor parent.

Each sub-section starts with a general variable indicating whether income is deemed from that kind of person. This variable is always coded. If the answer for a particular sub-section is "no" or "not applicable," then the remainder of the sub-section is coded n.a.

After the initial variable in each sub-section, there are several variables that deal with "allocation." States recognize that stepparents and grandparents need a certain portion of their income to take care of themselves and/or other dependents. The portion of the stepparent's or grandparent's income that is set aside (to theoretically provide for the stepparent or grandparent's needs) is referred to as an allocation or the allocated amount. This amount is subtracted from their total income, and the remainder is deemed available to the assistance unit.

The three step-wise allocations are as follows:

  • Initial allocation of earned income
  • Second allocation equal to W% of X dollar amount for Y non-unit people up to maximum amount, Z ("Non-unit people" refers to individuals not included in the assistance unit)
  • Other allocation rules

Allocations are additive; therefore, the total allocation equals the sum of amounts allocated according to any of the rules listed. If allocations are not additive (in cases where the state allocates the larger of two amounts), then the specific allocation rules are described in the notes sections.

Overlap Issues:

  • If financial support from people outside the unit is counted only when it is actually provided, then that policy is not deeming and the policy is captured in the Countable Income category rather than in the Deemed Income category.
  • Disregard ED#1 is sometimes referred to in this category's variables. Details on this disregard are captured in the Earned Income Disregards category.
  • Definitions of State Dollar Amounts #1-3 are contained in the Dollar Amount category.

Special Issues:

  • None
[Variables]

Diversion

Description:

Diversion programs are types of assistance or activities requirements provided to divert eligible applicants or recipients from ongoing AFDC/TANF receipt. These programs may be either "Formal" diversion or "Informal" Diversion.

Formal Diversion:

Formal programs include: 1) a one-time cash payment; 2) support services such as child care or medical care; or 3) a combination of the two. Only those programs that provide a cash payment or support services are identified as formal diversion programs in this database. For states that provide a cash payment, the payment is generally more than the assistance unit would have received as a monthly AFDC benefit. Often, the cash payment is a multiple of a monthly cash AFDC/TANF benefit and the assistance unit that receives the diversion payment is ineligible for additional payments and/or ongoing AFDC/TANF benefits for a specified length of time. For states that do not provide a cash benefit, only programs that provide support services equal to or in excess of those available to AFDC/TANF recipients are considered diversion programs. Diversion programs may be mandatory or voluntary. Note that a formal diversion program may include a job search requirement (below).

Informal Diversion:

In addition to formal diversion programs, states may also attempt to divert applicants from AFDC/TANF benefits by requiring the applicant to participate in job search activities prior to approving his or her application. States may require applicants to participate in structured work programs or search for work independently. These activities may take place prior to the submission of an application or during the application processing period. Support services such as child care or transportation assistance may also be made available to applicants during the job search period.

Overlap Issues:

  • Whether or not a diversion payment counts toward an assistance unit's time limit is contained in this category, not the Time Limits category.
  • Transitional services for an assistance unit that loses benefits due to increased earnings or an expired time limit are not considered diversion programs. These types of programs are covered in the Transitional Benefit category.

Special Issues:

  • Some diversion programs are available to both applicants and recipients; others are available only to applicants. If applicants and recipients are treated differently with respect to diversion programs, then each group receives its own record.
[Variables]

Dollar amounts

Description:

This category captures the dollar amounts used in determining eligibility and benefits for an assistance unit. Under AFDC, these dollar amounts included: the need standard, payment standard and maximum benefit. In addition, this category captures information on special needs amounts added to the basic dollar amounts under special circumstances.

Overlap Issues:

  • These dollar amounts are referred to in the following categories: Benefit Computation, Deemed Income, Diversion and Income Eligibility Tests.

Special Issues:

  • Pay special attention to the additional notes section in this category. The field contains information on specific counties to which the dollar amounts refer or any other important assumptions about the dollar amounts.
  • Beginning in 2001 the database captures amounts for child-only units, single parent units, and two parent units in separate records. Prior to 2001, all dollar amounts were based on the assumption that there was one adult in the unit. In states with different dollar amounts for child-only units, the child-only amount for one child was coded for a family size of one only. For all other family sizes, the amounts were based on one adult and children.
[Variables]

Earned income disregards

Description:

This category outlines the amounts of earned income an assistance unit may deduct when determining eligibility and benefits. The amounts an assistance unit can deduct are referred to as disregards.

Under AFDC, states were required to disregard a portion of a recipients' earned income when determining eligibility and benefits as a work incentive to clients. The value of a disregard is subtracted from an assistance unit's gross earned income when determining eligibility and benefits. In determining eligibility based on net income, each worker in the unit was allowed to disregard $90 for work expenses plus up to $175 per month for child care for each child age 2 and older (up to $200 for each child under the age of 2). Benefits were calculated using earnings minus a $90 work expense disregard, followed by a disregard of $30 and one-third of remaining earnings. After four months of consecutive earnings, recipients were no longer eligible for the one-third disregard, so the disregard was simply $120 ($90 and $30). After eight additional months of consecutive earnings, recipients were no longer eligible for the $30 disregard, so the disregard was simply $90. In addition, recipients were also allowed to disregard child care expenses up to $175 per month per child ($200 for children under age two). There was no time limit for the child care deduction.

Under waivers, a number of states made changes to this disregard structure, typically increasing the amount of earnings disregarded and eliminating the phase-out of the disregards over time.

PRWORA did not address the issue of earnings disregards specifically, but the creation of TANF gave states the freedom to adopt any disregard structure. The majority of states have implemented new earnings disregards that differ from the standard AFDC disregard.

Overlap Issues:

  • The net income test is referenced in this category when describing when each disregard is applied. More details on this test and others are found in the Income Eligibility Test category.
  • Disregards, by number, ED#1, may be referred to in the Deemed Income category.
  • Special disregards for families affected by family caps are captured in this category, not in the Family Cap category.
  • Net income used in the Benefit Computation category is determined using information in this category, as well as Child Support, Countable Income, Deemed Income, Income and Assets of Children and In Kind Income.
  • This category captures special disregards for earnings placed in savings during the month in which they are received. This type of disregard is different from IDAs which allow individuals to keep a limited amount of savings for restricted purposes and still remain eligible for benefits. IDAs are captured in the Asset Test category.

Special Issues:

  • The form is too long to add any more variables. If state has more than 3 disregards and the same disregards apply to recipients while others apply to applicants, two records exist: one for applicants and one for recipients. If there are more than 3 disregards for all unit types, all disregards that do not fit are coded in the additional notes section. All information coded for the first three disregards is also recorded for the disregards coded in the notes section.
[Variables]

Eligibility by number/type parents

Description:

Program eligibility may be restricted to certain types of families, as defined by the number or type of parents/caretakers. Under AFDC, the federal government established the types of families that were covered under AFDC, with one exception. Prior to 1988, states could choose whether or not to cover two-parent families in which neither parent was disabled. In 1988, the Family Support Act was passed requiring all states to provide assistance to two-parent families. However, states that previously did not provide benefits to two-parent families could choose to restrict assistance to a limited number of months (at least six out of twelve). Under TANF, states have authority to define the types of families that are potentially eligible for benefits.

Overlap Issues:

  • Eligibility rules for units headed by minor parents are covered in the Eligibility of Units Headed by Minor Parents.
  • Eligibility rules for pregnant women who do not already have children are covered in the Eligibility of Pregnant Women.
  • Eligibility of specific individuals is covered in the Eligibility of Individual Family Members.

Special Issues:

  • The Unit Type variable is not applicable for this category because the category captures whether or not different unit types are eligible. Therefore, Unit Type is always coded "All."
[Variables]

Eligibility of individual family members

Description:

This category describes which family members are part of the assistance unit, given that the unit as a whole is potentially eligible for benefits.

Overlap Issues:

  • Inclusion of Non-Citizens in the Unit covers the eligibility of family members based on their immigration and citizenship status.
  • Eligibility by Number/Type of Parents and Eligibility of Units Headed by Minor Parents include the rules for whether a unit as a whole is potentially eligible for benefits.

Special Issues:

  • The Unit Type key variable is not applicable for this category, and will always be coded "all."
[Variables]

Eligibility of pregnant women

Description:

Under AFDC, states had the option of providing assistance to pregnant women. If a state chose to provide benefits, pregnant women with no other children received assistance based on the state's need standard for one adult or one adult and one child. Receipt of assistance was conditional on the fact that the pregnant woman would be eligible if the child were born and living with her. This category reports whether pregnant women are eligible and if so, month of the pregnancy in which eligibility begins.

Overlap Issues:

  • None

Special Issues:

  • None
[Variables]

Eligibility of two-parent families

Description:

This category captures employment related eligibility criteria for two-parent, non-disabled families. These criteria include rules regarding employment status and labor force attachment.

Under AFDC, two-parent, non-disabled families were only potentially eligible for the AFDC-UP program. In order to qualify for the program, a family's principal earner had to be unemployed or severely underemployed, unemployed for a minimum length of time, and previously attached to the labor force. Specifically, the rules were:

100 Hour Rule:

This rule restricted AFDC-UP eligibility to families in which the principal wage earner was employed for less than 100 hours per month (or unemployed).

Work History Requirement:

This rule restricted AFDC-UP eligibility to families that demonstrated labor force attachment by requiring that families show proof of wages in at least 6 of the last 13 quarters ending within a year before applying for AFDC.

30 Day Waiting Period:

This rule restricted AFDC-UP eligibility to families in which the principal wage earner had been unemployed for at least 30 days.

Under waivers, a number of states eliminated or modified these rules.

Under TANF, states have complete discretion in setting eligibility rules. They choose whether or not to impose special employment-related rules on two-parent families.

Overlap Issues:

  • This category overlaps with the Eligibility by Number/Type of Parents category. Whether or not a two-parent, non-disabled family is eligible is coded in the Eligibility by Number/Type of Parents category. If two-parent, non-disabled families are not eligible, then the variables in this category do not apply and are coded n.a.

Special Issues:

  • This category only applies to two-parent, non-disabled families and the Unit Type variable should always be coded "All".
[Variables]

Eligibility of units headed by minor parents

Description:

This category covers eligibility rules for units headed by minor parents. This information includes the youngest age a minor parent can receive benefits as a head of an assistance unit, the oldest age a residency requirement is imposed, the acceptable living arrangements that meet the residency requirement and whether a minor parent who was receiving benefits as a child member of a unit remains in that unit after her child is born.

Overlap Issues:

  • Eligibility rules specific to minor parents are included in this category rather than in the more general category for eligibility rules by number/type of parents or caretakers.

Special Issues:

  • The Unit Type key variable in the header record are coded as "all," rather than "minor parents," for consistency with the key variable coding of other categories dealing with demographic eligibility rules.
[Variables]

Family caps

Description:

A family cap limits the increase in benefits a recipient unit can receive after the birth of another child. Family caps were not a standard provision in AFDC programs. Only under waiver authority were states able to implement a family cap. State policies varied in the percentage by which the incremental benefit is reduced and how long a family must be on AFDC to be affected by the family cap.

Overlap Issues:

  • Information regarding special earned income disregards for families affected by family caps is located in the Earned Income Disregards category.
  • This category indicates whether or not a capped child's income, such as child support, is counted in determining eligibility. This overlaps with the Child Support and Countable Income categories.

Special Issues:

  • None
[Variables]

Immunization and health screening policies

Description:

The Immunization and Health Screening Policies category contains information on requirement and sanction policies. The variables include information on both children and adults, although the requirements usually apply only to children.

Immunization and Health Screening Requirements:

Variables include standard immunizations, regular health check-ups, and other requirements, such as Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT).

Immunization and Health Screening Sanctions:

This category includes sanctions resulting from the failure to meet immunization and/or health screening requirements.

The consequence of failing to meet a requirement is coded as a sanction only if it results in a direct penalty. Most often, this penalty is financial. Requiring the distribution of benefits through a protective payee is also considered a sanction because it directly impacts the receipt of benefits. However, consequences designed to avoid a financial or other direct penalty are considered conciliation processes, not sanctions. For example, consequences such as discussing the problem with a case worker, developing a formal plan for addressing the problem and even "probationary periods" in which the requirement becomes more stringent are forms of conciliation and therefore are not included as a sanction.

The database only contains the worst case sanction for immunization and health screening non-compliance. For example, if there are two sanctions, a $25 reduction in benefits for the first offense and a 50% reduction for any further non-compliance, only the 50% reduction is coded. If, however, there is a sanction for immunization non-compliance and a sanction for health screening non-compliance, both sanction are coded in the worst case sanction variable.

Under AFDC, states could have immunization and health screening sanctions only under a waiver. TANF neither requires nor prohibits immunization and health screening sanctions.

Overlap Issues:

  • The existence of Immunization and Health Screening requirements is also recorded in the Contracts & Agreements category.

Special Issues:

  • For consistency, when a state indicates that a policy applies to children, dependent children or minor children, the variable capturing who the policy applies to should be coded "All children" and when the policy indicates children under 6, the variable should be coded "Preschool age children".
[Variables]

In kind income

Description:

Starting in 1981, states had the option to count a portion of the value of housing assistance and/or food stamps as unearned income for purposes of determining AFDC eligibility and benefits. Under TANF, states have complete discretion in what they include in their definition of income. Only a few states used this option under AFDC, but recently the number of states using this policy has increased.

Overlap Issues:

  • None

Special Issues:

  • None
[Variables]

Income and assets of children

Description:

This category indicates whether the income, earned and unearned, of children in an assistance unit is excluded when determining the unit's eligibility or benefit. "Children" refers to individuals with child status under each state's AFDC/TANF definitions. In states where children's income receives special treatment, details are provided concerning the specific type of children involved and the length of time their income is excluded.

Overlap Issues:

  • Deductions from earned income of adults are captured in the Earned Income Disregards category. The rules captured in Earned Income Disregards also apply to the earned income of children if their income receives no special treatment.
  • A complete exclusion of children's earnings could be considered a 100% disregard and could be coded in the earnings disregard category; however, the complete exclusion of children's earnings is captured in this category.
  • Treatment of child support income is covered in the Child Support category.
  • Deeming of income from persons outside the assistance unit is covered in the Deemed Income category.

Special Issues:

  • The variable Unit Type is coded for "All" and only refers to children in an assistance unit.
[Variables]

Income eligibility tests

Description:

Income eligibility tests began under AFDC and most states continue to use them in their TANF programs. Under AFDC, recipients and applicants were subject to different sets of tests. Applicant assistance units had to pass two income tests in order to be eligible. First, a unit's gross earned and unearned income (before applying any earnings disregards) had to be less than 185 percent of the state's need standard. The need standard was based on each state's definition of the cost of meeting basic living needs for a family of a given size. Second, a unit's net income (earned after applying the earned income disregards plus unearned income) had to be less than the payment standard. After passing both of these tests, a unit was considered financially eligible, provided the value of their assets was below a designated level. Units who received benefits in the previous month only had to pass the gross income test. The net income test was implicit in the calculation of benefits. (See information under Special Issues)

Under waivers, a few states made changes to income eligibility tests, such as removing the gross income test or setting income eligibility limits as a percentage of the federal poverty level. Changes to income eligibility limits were also made implicitly when states changed need or payment standards or modified earnings disregards under waivers.

PRWORA did not specify the income eligibility tests that states had to use under TANF, giving states the flexibility to maintain the AFDC eligibility rules or create new ones.

Overlap Issues:

  • The disregards used to determine net earned income are outlined in the Earned Income Disregard category.
  • Earned and unearned income counted in determining gross and net income is outlined in the following categories: Countable Income, Income and Assets of Children, Deemed Income, In kind Income, Child Support and Family Caps.
  • Definitions of State Dollar Amounts #1-3 are contained in the Dollar Amounts category.
  • Dollar amounts for specific family sizes are described in the Dollar Amounts category.

Special Issues:

  • The distinction between calculating whether or not a family qualifies for a positive benefit and a net income test is not clear in many states. As a result, the database is coded under a strict definition of whether tests designated by the state are actually coded as tests. A rule referred to as a "test" by a state is only coded as a test if the disregards and/or the dollar amounts used in that test differ from those used in calculating benefits. For example, under AFDC, some state manuals stated that recipients must also pass a net income test in order to receive benefits. Net earned income was calculated by subtracting the $90 work expense disregard, the $30 and 1/3 disregard (provided the time limit on these disregards had not expired for the unit) and, the appropriate child care deductions from the unit's gross earned income. Net income was then calculated by adding the unit's net earned income to their unearned income. If this net income was less than the payment standard for the appropriate family size, the unit was considered eligible. In calculating the benefit for a recipient family, the same disregards were applied to gross earned income and then the same total net income was subtracted from the payment standard. In this case, the disregards and dollar amounts used in the net income test and the benefit calculation were the same. Consequently, the net income test described by the state was not coded in the database. In this case, the benefit computation is an implicit eligibility test, even though the state calls it a net income test.
  • Under AFDC and under many state TANF plans, states have different tests for applicants and recipients. Therefore, two records are coded for most states.
[Variables]

Minor parent activities and bonuses

Description:

This category is designed to capture activities requirements and school bonuses that apply only to minor parents, as defined by each state. While some states capture activities required of minor parents in their activities/work programs (information coded in the Activities Exemptions, Activities Requirements and Activities Sanctions categories), other states consider minor parent requirements a separate issue/policy. This category was created to insure that the database captures the requirements specific to minor parents, regardless of their exemption status in the Activities categories. However, these requirements may also be captured in the Activities Requirements category if the state considers these requirements part of their overall work/activity program.

This category divides minor parents into two groups: those without a high school diploma or GED and those with a high school diploma or a GED. The section pertaining to minor parents without a diploma or GED contains variables designed to capture the school requirements and/or work requirements that apply to these minor parents. This section also contains variables that indicate the circumstances under which minor parents are excused from meeting these requirements and the consequences for not meeting the requirements.

The second section provides information regarding the requirements of minor parents with a diploma or a GED. The first variable in this section describes the activity requirements for minor parents who have a high school diploma or GED. The remaining variables outline the consequences of not meeting the requirements and which minor parents are exempted from the requirements.

In addition to these two section, the final section in this category outlines the details of any school bonuses that apply to minor parents. In some states, the monthly benefit for minor parents is increased if these parents meet specific school achievements. This category outlines the requirements necessary to receive a bonus, to whom the bonuses are available, as well as the value of the bonuses.

Overlap issues:

·This category may contain replicated information from the Activities Exemptions, Activities Requirements and Activities Sanctions categories because those category outline each state's work/activity program exactly as it is described in their manual. This category extracts the information relevant to minor parents from that program as well as any other additional program rules that apply to minor parents, 17 years old or younger

·School Policies for Dependent Children contains information regarding school requirements and bonuses for dependent children in the unit. While some states treat minor parents as dependent children in a larger unit, the database only contains information regarding dependent children without children of their own in the School Policies for Dependent Children category. Information regarding school requirements and bonuses for all minor parents (including minor parents that some states consider dependent children) are coded in this category.

Special Issues:

n.a.

[Variables]

School policies for dependent children

Description:

The School Policies for Dependent Children category includes information on school-related requirements, school-related sanctions and school-related bonuses. All variables in the category apply only to dependent children in the assistance unit.

School Requirements:

Under states' general laws, all school-age children are required to attend school. For our purposes, however, a policy is considered a school requirement only if the state's manual explicitly mentions it as a requirement for cash assistance. These policies may require children to attend school, to achieve at least a minimal grade point average and/or parents to be involved in their children's education in some way.

School Sanctions:

A school sanction results when an assistance unit fails to meet one or more of the states' school requirements.

The consequence of failing to meet a requirement is coded as a sanction only if it results in a direct penalty. Most often, this penalty is financial. Requiring the distribution of benefits through a protective payee is also considered a sanction because it directly impacts the receipt of benefits. However, consequences designed to avoid a financial or other direct penalty are considered conciliation processes, not sanctions. For example, consequences such as discussing the problem with a case worker, developing a formal plan for addressing the problem and even "probationary periods" in which the requirement becomes more stringent are forms of conciliation and therefore are not included as a sanction.

The maximum and minimum sanction amount and duration are coded for each school requirement.

School Bonuses:

These variables capture financial incentives for assistance units whose children meet specific attendance or achievement standards. So, whereas school sanctions penalize assistance units that do not meet school requirements, school bonuses reward units that do meet certain standards.

Some states may have more than one bonus. The form only contains one set of variables for any and all school bonuses. So, if states do have more than one bonus, they are all coded in the same field. For example, "Bonus 1: $25; Bonus 2: $50; Bonus 3: $100, etc".

Under AFDC, states could only impose school policies using waivers. TANF neither requires nor prohibits school policies.

Overlap Issues:

  • This category includes information on school policies for dependent children only. It does not cover school requirements, sanctions or bonuses for minor parents. Those policies are included in the Minor Parent Activities Requirements and Bonuses category.
  1. It is possible that school bonuses could overlap with the Benefit Computation category. In Virginia there is a small school attendance demonstration project in three middle schools. The families of children participating in the program have their benefits calculated at 100% of the state standard of need instead of the usual 90% of need, provided they meet school attendance, achievement, and involvement goals. Instead of creating new records for Virginia in the Benefit Computation category, the increased benefit level is treated as a school bonus.
  1. Some states allow individuals ages 18 and 19 who have not completed school, to remain eligible if they stay in school and are scheduled to complete their degree by the age of 19. Although, this may seem like a school requirement specifically for 18 and 19 year olds, it is really an eligibility issue. Consequently, it is captured in the Eligibility of Individual Family Members category.

Special Issues:

  1. A record should be coded for every state/year even if they do not have any School Policies.
  2. The "unit type" should be coded "all", even though the policies generally apply only to the children in the unit.
[Variables]

Time limits

Description:

The Time Limits category describes the various limits that either terminate or reduce an assistance unit's benefits due to the amount of time they have received aid. Note that time limits which require a unit head to do something in order to continue receiving assistance, such as work activity time limits are not captured in this category. Only time limits that affect the unit's benefit are discussed in this category.

AFDC:

There was no limit on the number of months an assistance unit could receive benefits under AFDC; however, some states were granted waivers that introduced time limits to all or portions of the state. Time limits can either terminate or reduce a unit's benefits after a set period of time. Most states did exempt certain groups of people from time limits or granted an extension to certain groups after the time limit was reached.

PRWORA:

The federal government restricts TANF assistance to 60 months. This means, unless an assistance unit is exempted, they may only receive 60 months of benefits in their lifetime. States have the option to exempt up to 20% of the caseload from the 60 month rule, in any way that they choose. However, if the state wants to provide benefits to more than 20% of the caseload for more than five years, the recipients must be funded using state money.

State Options:

States may not use TANF funds to provide benefits to unit's after the head has been receiving for more than 60 months; however, states do have several options. States ...

  • may limit benefits to less than 60 months.
  • may use state funds to provide benefits to units after the 60 month limit has expired.
  • that had a waiver before the reform are allowed to continue the waiver if they are less restrictive than the federal regulations.
  • may employ any type or combination of time limits they choose.

Description of Time Limit Types:

States have developed several different types of time limits that either reduce benefits, limit the number of consecutive months a unit can receive benefits or terminate benefits. Often states use a combinations of time limits. The following describes the types of time limits captured in this category.

Lifetime Limit

Limits the number of months an assistance unit is able to receive benefits over the unit's lifetime. In other words, there is a finite number of months in which an assistance unit is eligible for benefits. The federal lifetime limit is 60 months, however, states have the option to extend or shorten this limit. The months of assistance do not need to be accumulated consecutively.

Periodic Limit

Limits the number of months an assistance unit may receive benefits within a given period of time. Basically, the unit is eligible for a specified number of benefit months within another specified period of time. For example, if the periodic limit is 12 out of 24 months, the assistance unit may only receive 12 months of benefits in any 24 month period. This time limit does not require the unit to use the 12 months consecutively. A unit may, for example, receive benefits for 2 months, leave assistance for 4 months and receive another 10 months of benefits. To determine if an assistance unit is eligible in a given month, the state calculates the number of months, during the previous 24, the unit received benefits. If the number of months in which benefits were received equals 12, the unit is not eligible. If the number of months is less than 12, the unit is eligible for another month of benefits. So, the 24 months is not static from the point the unit first received benefits, but can be any 24 month period.

Benefit Waiting Period

Under this type of limit, an assistance unit is ineligible for benefits for a specified number of months after they have received benefits for another specified number of months. For example, a unit is ineligible for benefits for 12 months after they have received benefits for 24 months. It does not matter how long it takes the unit to accumulate the initial 24 months, the unit is ineligible for 12 months after 24 months of receipt.

Benefit Reduction Limit

This type of limit does not terminate benefits, but it reduces an assistance unit's benefit after a specified number of months of receipt. The benefit reduction is usually permanent and does not stem from a sanction or noncooperation. Even if the unit fulfills every requirement, the unit's benefit will be reduced. Often the reduction is equivalent to the unit head's portion of the benefit. Sometimes, the reduced amount is returned to the family in the form of a voucher payment or given to a third-party as payment.

Note: If a periodic or benefit waiting period time limit does not result in the termination of benefits for the entire unit, but rather the unit head is removed (or the benefit is reduced), the limit is coded in the section devoted to the periodic or benefit waiting period and information about the benefit reduction is provided in the notes variable for that time limit.

Extensions and exemptions:

As mentioned above, the federal government allows states to exempt up to 20% of their caseload from the 60 month time limit. The state has full discretion in choosing which groups, if any, they exempt. Exemptions and extensions are two ways to exclude individuals from the 60 month time limit. Often state definitions of and the distinction between extensions and exemptions is vague, but they can affect people in very different ways. Essentially, they do the same thing. The month that is exempted or extended is not counted toward a unit's time limit. However, if a person is exempted from the time limit, the clock stops for the unit as long as the circumstances exist. So, when their circumstances change and the clock again begins to tick, they still have 60 months of benefits. Extensions, on the other hand, only occur after the unit has reached their time limit. If the unit reaches the time limit, but meets certain criteria, their benefits will continue as long as they qualify for the extension. However, when the unit no longer meets the extension criteria, they are ineligible for assistance.

Both extensions and exemptions allow an assistance unit to remain eligible for another month. However, exemptions stop the time limit clock, while extensions only delay ineligibility for another month.

 

Overlap Issues:

  • Work-Related Time Limits are discussed in the Activities Requirement category

 

Special Issues:

  • This category contains seven separate sections; Time Limits, Lifetime Limits, Periodic Time Limits, Benefit Waiting Period, Benefit Reduction Limits, Exemptions and Extensions, and Additional Information.
  • The first and last sections, Time Limits and Additional Information, address general issues related to the states time limit policies.
  • Four sections: Lifetime Limits, Periodic Time Limits, Benefit Waiting Period, Benefit Reduction Limits, describe the specifics of state time limit policies. Each time limit policy contains A, B, and C variables that identify the number of months and units covered by the limit. The three variables (A, B, C) are only used if the time limit policy varies by unit type or characteristic of a unit member. For example, if the state allows units with children under the age of six to receive benefits for 60 months, while units with no children under age six are only allowed to receive benefits for 48 months, Lifetime Limits A and B are coded. Limit A is coded for units with children under age six and Limit B is coded for units with no children under age six. Each section follows this same logic. Whenever a time limit policy varies by unit type or characteristic of a unit member, the limits are coded separately within one record.
  • The final section, Extensions and Exemption, identifies which time limits exempt or extend months for various types of situations.
  • The "Unit Type" variable in the header record is always coded "all". Any unit variation is coded in the record.
  • April 1999, the final Federal Regulation on TANF were released. The federal government clarified their position on state waivers and the federal 60 month limit. They indicate that any months during which a non-exempt head of household receives TANF funded assistance under a waiver will count toward the federal time limit. Therefore, in addition to the state time limit, there is also a 60 month lifetime limit that applies retroactively to all recipients as of the date TANF began or first month of receipt under the waiver, whichever is later. A note to this affect is included in the additional notes section for states that have a waiver without a lifetime limit.
[Variables]

Transitional benefits

Description:

The Transitional Benefits category describes the services that assistance units are eligible for after losing AFDC/TANF benefits. This category focuses on transitional child care and transitional Medicaid; however, any other transitional benefits a state offers are also captured in this category.

Under AFDC, states offered two type of transitional assistance to units that became ineligible for benefits due to increased earnings or the lose of certain earned income disregards: Transitional Child Care and Transitional Medicaid.

Transitional Child Care:

The Family Support Act of 1988 required states, as of April 1990, to provide 12 months of Transitional Child Care (TCC) to former recipients who met two requirements. First, assistance units were only eligible for TCC if they lost benefits because their income exceeded the eligibility limits due to one of the following circumstances: an increase in wages, an increase in the number of hours worked or the expiration of an earned income disregard (see Overlap Issues for details). Second, units were only eligible if they received assistance for at least 3 out of the previous 6 months prior to losing benefits. In addition to these federal requirements, states had the option of requiring units to pay a fee for TCC based on a sliding scale.

Transitional Medicaid Assistance:

Beginning April 1981, the federal government required states to extend four months of Transitional Medicaid Assistance (TMA) to units who lost benefits due to increased earnings. The Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 expanded these Medicaid benefits. The states were still required to provide 4 months of TMA to units who lost benefits due to increased earnings; however, beginning October 1984, states were also required to provide 9 months of TMA to units who lost assistance due to the removal of the one-third earned income disregard. States also had the option to provide 6 months of Medicaid for units that lost benefits due to the removal of the $30 and one-third earned income disregards.

The Family Support Act of 1988 revised the previous Transitional Medicaid benefits. Beginning April 1990, the federal government required states to offer assistance units 12 months of TMA, provided the units met certain eligibility requirements. First, assistance units were only eligible for TMA if they lost benefits because their income exceeded the eligibility limits due to one of the following circumstances: an increase in wages, an increase in the number of hours worked or the expiration of an earned income disregard (see Overlap Issues for details). Second, units were only eligible if they received assistance for at least 3 out of the previous 6 months prior to losing benefits. Finally, after the first 6 months of TMA, units could only receive the additional 6 months if their gross earnings (net of child care expenses) were below 185% of the Federal Poverty Guideline.

In addition to these federal requirements, states had the option of instituting other restrictions on TMA receipts.

During the second six months of TMA, states could limit the scope of coverage, charge a premium for units with incomes above 100% of poverty and/or offer alternative sources of coverage, such as HMOs or state run insurance plans. In addition to these options, states could, in any of the 12 months, use Medicaid funds to pay the employee's portion of premiums if the unit received coverage from a new employer.

Under waiver demonstrations, many states changed the duration of and eligibility restrictions for transitional benefits. Most states extended TMA and TCC from 12 to 24 months and/or removed the 3 out of 6 months requirement. A few states extended transitional benefits to units that were ineligible for reasons other than increased earnings.

Under TANF, states are no longer required to operate TCC because child care funding is now dispersed through a separate child care block grant. However, many states have continued their TCC programs. Although TCC is not required under TANF, the federal government still requires that states provide 12 months of Medicaid for units that lose benefits due to increased earnings.

Overlap Issues:

  • Expiration of earned income disregards refers to the elimination of the $30 and/or the one-third disregards. In addition to the $90 work expense disregard and the child care deduction under AFDC, states allowed units to disregard $30 plus one-third of their remaining earnings for the first four months of consecutive earnings. After the first 4 months, units could disregard $30 of their earnings for an additional 8 months of consecutive earnings. After these 12 months, units were only allowed the $90 work expense and the child care disregard. More details regarding disregards are found in the Earned Income Disregard category.

Special Issues:

  • None
[Variables]

treatment of additional adults in household

Description:

This category describes how states treat noncaretaker adults living in the household with an assistance unit. These adults include adult relatives (e.g. mother living with her daughter and her daughter's children) living with a caretaker and their children, nonparent, partners (e.g. boyfriend with no children) living with the caretaker, or nonrelative, nonpartners (e.g. a friend of the mother heading the unit) living in the household. The adults described in this category do not have children of their own living in the household and are not the primary caretaker of any of the children in the household.

The category captures information about three types of information; which adults are eligible for benefits, how income of nonunit members is treated, and how shared shelter costs affect eligibility and benefits. In some states, adults who live in the household but have no children living with them may be included in the assistance unit. If the adults are included in the unit, their income is counted like all other adult members of the unit. Generally, if the adult is not included in the unit, their income is not counted against the unit for eligibility or benefits. However, in some cases, states may count some portion of the nonunit adult's income against the unit's eligibility or benefits. These policies are included in this category. Finally, some states reduce benefits or provide lower eligibility thresholds for those assistance units that do not pay for all or any of their shelter costs. Often these policies are imposed only when the unit lives with a relative who pays the shelter costs; however, some states reduce benefits when the unit lives with any adult who pays for the family's shelter (including a boyfriend or girlfriend).

Overlap Issues:

  • Other eligibility information about individuals in the household is captured in the following categories: Eligibility of Individual Family Members, Inclusion of Noncitizens in the Unit, and Units Headed by Minor Parents.
  • The Dollar Amounts category contains information on decreases in benefits for families living in public or subsidized housing. Most states make a distinction between families that receive housing assistance from the government versus assistance from a friend or family member (i.e. they live with a family member who pays the rental costs). For those states that do not make a distinction -- indicating that any family not paying for rent will receive a lower benefit -- the information should be coded in both categories.

Special Issues:

  • None
[Variables]