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Department of Human Services Announces Payment Reduction in TANF Benefits Over 60 Months

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The DC Department of Human Services (DHS) announced today that the Agency has mailed the first set of notices sent to customers impacted by a new law affecting cash assistance in the District.

Under the new District statute, recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) will have their benefits reduced if they have received TANF payments for over 60 months. The notice also informs each recipient of the number of months he or she has received TANF benefits in the District of Columbia to date.

This change, while not eliminating benefits for those who have received TANF for over 60 months, comports with the spirit of federal TANF regulations, which maintains that benefits are intended to be temporary and intended to help support a family for a finite period of time while individuals address barriers to employment, acquire skills and obtain employment.

While still far more generous than TANF benefits offered by neighboring jurisdictions, the District is moving in a direction of mutual responsibility. This transition represents one element of a broad TANF redesign that will provide more individualized services for TANF recipients to assist in addressing their barriers and obtaining employment.

At the same time it will be incumbent upon the recipients to avail themselves of the services offered to help them overcome their temporary difficulties. It is the goal of DHS, and the District as a whole, to help create the conditions that enable individuals to become self-sufficient.

The following clients are not impacted by the 60 month reductions:

  • POWER Clients – this program is a locally funded for clients who have a disability that prevents them from participating in work activities. While clients must be eligible for TANF to be considered for the POWER program, POWER benefits are not TANF benefits.
  • Child-Only Cases – these are cases where a relative is caring for the children. The parents are not in the home.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Recipients – these clients are not recipients of TANF, only the children receive a TANF benefit.

The benefit change will occur April 1, 2011.