The Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 requires states to report employment and education outcomes for individuals enrolled in their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
When comparing employment and education outcomes across state TANF programs, caution should be taken to avoid misleading results or consequences due to differences in program structure.
Comparing TANF outcomes across states may result in misleading results as program structures vary in assistance duration, eligibility, and assistance requirements.
Obtaining earnings and education data for individuals no longer associated with the TANF program may be an obstacle for states who haven’t historically measured these types of outcomes.
Example performance indicators include the percentage of people who were work eligible when they left TANF and who are employed in the second or fourth quarter after leaving the program, median earnings of those employed during a specific quarter, and the percentage of people who obtain a high school diploma or GED while receiving TANF benefits.
The new legislation will allow up to five states to focus on activities aimed at improving employment and enrollee wellbeing to establish benchmarks for these outcomes.
Measuring education and employment outcomes could serve as an incentive for states to provide TANF assistance to families with higher income, as well as provide other supports to improve educational and employment outcomes.
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