RD253 - Virginia Independence Program and Other Projects Funded with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant for State Fiscal Year 2012

Executive Summary:
The federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant funds a host of important and effective programs throughout the Commonwealth including the Virginia Independence Program (VIP). The VIP consists of two related but distinct sets of requirements for TANF participants, eligibility requirements and work requirements. The policies that mandate eligibility requirements became effective statewide on July 1, 1995. The Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare Program (VIEW) is the work-related portion of VIP that requires participants to be employed or engaged in a work activity. Implementation of VIEW was phased in over a two-year period beginning in July 1995 and ending in October 1997.

Since VIP was implemented in July of 1995, the TANF caseload has dropped from 70,797 to approximately 34,000 in June 2012, a 52% decrease. Of the 181,876 TANF recipients enrolled in VIEW since 1995, over 127,327 found employment and joined the workforce by June of 2012. This caseload decline contributed to a net savings in federal and state funds of over $937 million.

TANF was originally authorized by Congress through September 30, 2002. Reauthorization of TANF was included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (Pub. L. No. 109-171) and new regulations took effect on October 1, 2006. The Commonwealth instituted a number of changes aimed at increasing the number of TANF recipients participating in employment and training activities. Changes due to reauthorization were fully implemented and resulted in increasing the Commonwealth's TANF work participation rate from 28% in September of 2006 to 45% by June of 2012. However, the recession that started in December of 2007 had a negative impact on both the size of the TANF caseload and the number of TANF recipients that are employed. The lingering impacts of the recession continue to present challenges. In 2012, economic conditions continued to improve and the TANF work participation rate improved, but there was little change in employment levels and wages.