DATE: March 12, 1998
TO: Liz Accles, Community Food Resource Center
FROM: Paul Lopatto
SUBJECT: Federal TANF Work Quotas
In response to your inquiry, the attached table provides information on New York City’s compliance with the federal work quotas for the TANF funded Family Assistance Program (FA, formerly AFDC). As indicated in the table, the 1996 federal welfare law requires that states meet all-family work quotas that rise 5 percent each year until they reach 50 percent in 2002. New York State has passed responsibility for reaching the federal quotas onto the local districts.
The federal law gives credit towards the work quotas for each percentage decrease in caseload compared to the base year of 1995. This makes an enormous difference during a time of rapid caseload decline. Using its latest FA caseload projections, IBO has calculated the city’s expected net quota for each year after accounting for the credit. The resulting net quota has been reduced to 14.5 percent for 1998 and never rises above 17 percent for any of these years. The Mayor’s caseload projections contained in the recent preliminary budget show even more decrease in the caseload, resulting in even lower net work quotas. Based on data from October 1997, we estimate that the city has already achieved a work rate of 22 percent. Therefore, fulfilling the all-family quota for each year should not be too difficult.
The federal law also imposes a separate work quota for two-parent families of 75 percent in 1997 and 1998, rising to 90 percent in 1999. City data for this sub-population are difficult to access. However, state officials have provided some statewide information on this group. Two-parent families represent less than 10 percent of the overall FA caseload. In calculating net work quotas, the state is allowed to take credit for the reduction in two-parent cases compared to 1995. The credit for 1997 was 13 percent, resulting in a net quota of 62 percent. The state achieved this net quota, with 68 percent of two-parent cases meeting the work requirements. The credit for 1998 will be 36 percent, based on the 1997 two-parent caseload. The effective net quota will thus be 39 percent. In 1999 the quota will rise to 90 percent. If the caseload and the number of working adults remains flat, the state will achieve this rate. Further two-parent caseload declines will make this even easier to achieve.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to call me at (212) 442-8613.