Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, or PRWORA (P.L. 104-193)
1. Established TANF as a replacement for the Aid to Dependent Children (AFDC) program, in place since 1935.
2. Set time limits on federal benefits.
3. Gave states primary responsibility for program design, but set state work participation rates within 12 categories of activities and minimum weekly hours to count as participating.
4. Set up a caseload reduction credit, allowing states to reduce their required work participation rate by the percent of caseload reduction since 1995.
5. Funded fixed block grants with a state maintenance of effort (MOE) requirement.
6. Granted states bonuses for reducing births to unmarried mothers and achieving high performance.
Deficit Reduction Act (P.L. 109-171)
1. Extended TANF through fiscal year 2010.
2. Strengthened work requirements: included all families in work participation requirement, defined 12 work activities, and defined methods for reporting and verifying work.
3. Improved reliability of work participation data and program integrity.
4. Moved the base year of the caseload reduction credit to 2005 from 1995.
5. Broadened expenditures that count toward MOE.
6. Eliminated bonuses and established grants for healthy marriage.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (P.L. 111-5)
1. Awarded $5 billion in emergency funding for state TANF programs in response to recession (through fiscal 2010); required a 20 percent state match.
2. Increased caseload and short-term benefits.
3. Subsidized employment.
See Weil and Finegold (2002) for a brief history of welfare before PRWORA.