The Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) Program must be reauthorized this year, 2002. A recent study by the General Accounting Office, a non-partisan research arm of Congress, concluded that 44% of TANF recipient had a physical or mental impairment.
On February 26, 2002, the President announced his proposal for the reauthorization of TANF. The President would require within five years that 70 percent of welfare recipients would be working. The current participation rate is 50 percent. In addition, the work requirement would move from 30 to 40 hours a week, but allow 16 hours for education, job training or drug rehabilitation programs. Increased work participation requirements will hurt TANF parents with disabilities and their children. Taken together, the higher participation rate, the increased hourly requirements, and the inflexible rules around the types of activities families can participate in will make it difficult for states to achieve the proposed requirements and, in all likelihood, lead to increased sanctioning of families with disabilities.