Publication Date



[Excerpt] This report examines the TANF cash assistance caseload, focusing on how the composition and characteristics of families receiving assistance have changed over time. It first provides a brief history of cash assistance for needy families with children, discussing how policy became focused on moving the predominately single parents who headed these families from welfare to work. It then traces the changes in the caseload composition since the 1996 welfare reform law, from a caseload dominated by unemployed single parents to a diverse caseload that had different routes to the benefit rolls as well as different circumstances on the rolls. It provides detail on caseload characteristics in FY2013, using data that states are required to report to the federal government. The report is intended to complement tabulations of these data already released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).


Suggested Citation
Falk, G. (2016). Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): Size and characteristics of the cash assistance caseload (CRS Report R43187). Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.