Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF)‏ 09

The TANF Emergency Contingency Fund and Homelessness Prevention Fund resources that will soon be awarded in communities across the country have the potential to transform how communities respond to homelessness among families.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund has a decided total amount that a state can receive in contingency funds over the course of 2009 and 2010 which is capped at 50 percent of one year’s annual TANF allocation. This 50 percent cap applies to the total of the new Emergency Contingency Funds and the pre-existing contingency fund that about a dozen states have qualified for.

Section 2101 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 in which the Recovery Act creates a new TANF Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF), funded at $5 billion. An investment in which states can receive 80 percent federal funding for spending increases in FYs 2009 or 2010 over FYs 2007 or 2008 incertain categories of TANF‐related expenditures. The three categories are basic assistance, non‐recurrent short‐term benefits, and subsidized employment.

The TANF block grant is also used by states in part to provide cash assistance to low-income families. Benefit levels vary widely across the states.

The definition of nonrecurrent, short-term benefits at 45 CFR 260.31(b)(1) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Office of Family Assistance states: A benefit must meet all three criteria to be excluded as assistance. If a State provides recurring basic income support, then the State is providing assistance.

The TANF regulation at 45 CFR 260.31(a)(1) and (2) specifies that “assistance” includes cash, payments, vouchers and other forms of benefits designed to meet a family’s ongoing basic needs (i.e., for food, clothing, shelter, utilities, household goods, personal care items, and general incidental expenses). The regulation at 45 CFR 260.31(a)(3) states that assistance also can include supportive services such as transportation and child care provided to families that are not employed.

Effective October 1, 2006, the all-families work participation requirement is 50 percent and the two-parent requirement is 90 percent; both rates are then reduced by the number of percentage points by which the state’s caseload falls below 2005 levels for reasons other than eligibility rule changes.

All in all, the cap on total funding is more than double what the Congressional Budget Office estimated states would draw; this means that states can safely assume they will receive the full amount for which they qualify under the ECF.


3 Responses to “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF)‏ 09”

  1. i have just relocated down here from Ohio i have 3 kids and another one on the way im due November 7,2011….. i do not have any income coming in….. my boyfriend gets a $400-$500 pay twice a month he just started the job 2 weeks ago……. and i need help with assistance……. we dont even have steady place to live yet and we are really struggling…….

    • Be careful with this though due to the fact that currently the TANF eligibility has change significantly since this letter had been written. One stipulation of the current law is set to now require drug screening for those asking for assistance who have prior drug convictions on their records.


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