As the President said on August 22, 1996, the signing of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 should "be remembered not for what it ended but for what it began: a new day that offers hope, honors responsibility, rewards work, and changes the terms of the debate." (Remarks at the Signing Ceremony).
The implementation of this bill is critical to ensuring the President's vision is fulfilled. This page has been designed to assist the public in understanding the law and provide access to available federal information.
Information by Topic -- Information by Department
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant
The new welfare reform law, as amended by the Balanced Budget Act, block grants AFDC, Emergency Assistance (EA), and JOBS into a single capped entitlement to states -- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). More information on TANF can be found on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Welfare Reform Page.
Transitions to Work
The welfare reform law contains strong work requirements for individuals, along with strong incentives and penalties for states to move welfare recipients into work. For more information, see the ACF Welfare Reform Page. In addition, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 contains $3 billion for Welfare-to-Work grants to help states and local communities move long-term, hard to employ welfare recipients into lasting, unsubsidized jobs. For more information, see the Department of Labor's Welfare-to-Work Page
Other initiatives to help individuals make a successful transition from welfare to work include:
The Balanced Budget Act extended the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and authorized a new Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit to give employers an added incentive to hire long-term welfare recipients. For more information, see the Department of Labor's Work Opportunity Tax Credit page
At the President's urging, the Welfare to Work Partnership was launched in May 1997 to lead the national business effort to hire people from the welfare rolls. The Partnership is an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides technical assistance and support to businesses around the country. For more information, see the Partnership's Web site.
The Vice President created the Welfare to Work Coalition to Sustain Success to mobilize civic, religious, and non-profit groups to help welfare recipients succeed in the workforce through mentoring and other support services. For more information, see the Vice President's Welfare to Work Coalition page.
The Federal government is also doing our fair share through the Federal government hiring initiative, overseen by the Vice President. For more information, see "Welfare to Work: The Federal Government -- Working To Do Its Share".
The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) authorized $750 million over five years for the President's welfare-to-work transportation initiative and reverse commute grants. Of this amount, $50 million is guaranteed funding in FY 1999. See the Department of Transportation's Welfare to Work Transportation page.
The President has proposed $283 million for 50,000 welfare-to-work housing vouchers to help welfare recipients who need housing assistance in order to get or keep a job. The Department of Housing and Urban Development also has several ongoing efforts linking housing and welfare reform. For more information, see HUD's Welfare Reform page.
The Small Business Administration is helping to connect small businesses with work-ready welfare recipients and to support welfare recipients who are interested in starting their own small businesses. For more information, see SBA's Welfare to Work Page.
The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) assists low-income families and those transitioning off welfare to obtain child care so they can work or attend training/education. For more information, see the HHS Child Care Bureau's Home Page and the ACF Welfare Reform Page.
Child Support Enforcement
The new law contains comprehensive child support enforcement (CSE) provisions and requires states to initiate numerous new enforcement techniques. For more information, see the HHS Child Support Home Page and the ACF Welfare Reform Page.
Benefits for Legal Immigrants
The welfare reform law limits welfare and public benefits for certain immigrants. Consistent with the President's commitment to fix several provisions in the law that had nothing to do with moving people from welfare to work, the Balanced Budget Act restored SSI and Medicaid for legal immigrants already receiving benefits as of August 22, 1996 and those already in the country and not receiving benefits who subsequently become disabled. This year, the President's budget proposes to restore food stamps for 730,000 legal immigrants. For more information, see the Welfare Reform pages of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Social Security Administration (SSA), ACF, Medicaid, and USDA.
The welfare reform law retains prior Medicaid eligibility rules for families on welfare. The Balanced Budget Act ensured that disabled children losing SSI because of the new tighter eligibility criteria keep their Medicaid coverage. For more information, see the HHS Medicaid Bureau Welfare Reform Page.
The welfare reform law limits receipt of food stamp benefits for able-bodied adults who are not working or participating in a work program or in workfare. The Balanced Budget Act restores some food stamp funding, provides additional funding for work programs, and allows certain exemptions to the food stamp work requirements. For more information, see the USDA Welfare Reform Page.
See the President's Guidance on the Family Violence Provisions in the new welfare law. For more general information on Domestic Violence issues, see the Department of Justice Violence Against Women Office and the Community Checklist Page.
Several provisions in the new welfare reform law affect Social Security Administration (SSA) including, limited SSI eligibility for noncitizens and changes in SSI childhood disability criteria. See the SSA Welfare Reform Page for more information.
Teen Pregnancy Prevention
The welfare reform law contains a number of provisions to prevent out-of-wedlock teen pregnancies and to assure that communities engage in local efforts to prevent teenage pregnancy. Under TANF, unmarried minor parents must stay in school and live at home or in a supervised setting. For more information, see ACF's Welfare Reform Page. In January 1997, the President announced a National Strategy to Prevent Teen Pregnancy . In addition, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, a private nonprofit organization, was formed in response to the President's call in the 1995 State of the Union. For more information, see the National Campaign's web site.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services -- Administration for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services -- Medicaid
U.S. Department of Justice -- Immigration and Naturalization Page
U.S. Social Security Administration
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S Department of Labor -- Welfare to Work
U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development
U.S Department of Transportation
Small Business Administration -- Welfare to Work Page