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What are discretionary grants?

For the most part, all discretionary grants, including TANF cash and property, must be approved by the state General Assembly (and local councils are allowed to opt-out of certain provisions of the TANF program).

However, it is possible for individual governors to grant their own funding, if they so choose. This power is exercised to a large extent by executive orders, which means governors can give away federal money on their own, and they can also do so while not being subject to legislative approval.

What does a TANF program include?

Federal assistance to states

TANF money must be used for the education and welfare of a child

No child welfare assistance funds

TANF cash must be used for food, shelter, education, healthcare, social services, transportation, or other needs and only if the money is used to pay for one-time living expenses. TANF cash is not used to pay for medical bills or other bills related to basic needs.

When can a state turn over TANF funds to another state?

TANF is a federal program. States can’t just give the money that comes into their state to another state. Only with the governor’s approval can a state give assistance to other states.

States have a variety of ways to help with other federal programs, but a lot of TANF dollars go to school choice for parents – to private schools and charter schools.

When is funding to be used for federal programs?

States have the option of deciding to make their TANF funds available to other federal programs – the Child Care and Development Program (which provides tax credits to families with children under 18 and other programs) and other programs.

States also have the option of using their own funds for other federal program.

If a state is eligible for a federal program, it can give any of this money it receives to another state or territory in a single year.

How much federal TANF funding do I get per person each year?

Every year, the federal government gives TANF money to states, which covers more than 2 million families. This means that states receive a lot more each year than people think.

Each year, about $6 billion worth of TANF money goes to states. That means that states receive about $4,000 per child, per year. While the actual amount comes in a couple of thousand dollars per family