TANF Cash Benefits Continued To Lose Value in 2013

Source: Ife Floyd and Liz Schott, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, October 21, 2013

From the summary:
Cash assistance benefits for the nation’s poorest families with children fell again in purchasing power in 2013 and are now at least 20 percent below their 1996 levels in 37 states, after adjusting for inflation. Seven states increased Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grant amounts in 2013, with five of these based on annual adjustments. An additional state enacted a TANF benefit increase that will take effect next year. No state cut TANF benefit levels in nominal dollars this year. While several more states increased benefits this year than in the last few years, most kept family grant levels unchanged, allowing inflation to continue to erode the benefits’ value. With the country’s economic outlook looking somewhat more favorable in the coming year, states should halt the erosion of TANF benefits and slowly restore some of the purchasing power the grants have lost over the past 17 years….This paper is an annual update of state TANF benefit levels as of July 1 each year (the beginning of the fiscal year for most states). This update covers the changes in TANF benefit levels between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013. The benefit levels cited here reflect the monthly benefits for a family of three with no other income as of July 1, 2013. However, while the family grants cited in this paper are among the highest a family can receive, they are not always the most typical grant families receive. TANF benefit levels in several states vary by geographic regions; in these states, families in some regions of the state receive lower benefits than the levels used in this analysis….