RD234 - Virginia Independence Program for State Fiscal Year 2013

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.

When VIP was implemented in July of 1995, the monthly TANF caseload was 70,797. The caseload initially fell rapidly until after June 1998, when the rate of decline slowed. Nevertheless, wide community involvement, a strong economy, and the effect of the 24-month rule allowed the caseload to continue to fall until it was near the 30,000 level. More recently, due to economic conditions, caseloads increased from 2008 through 2010. By 2012, the caseload began to decrease again to around 30,000 by June 2013, a 58% decrease. Of the 211,015 TANF recipients enrolled in VIEW since 1995, over 133,918 found employment and joined the work force by June of 2013. This caseload decline contributed to a net savings in federal and state funds of over $1 billion. Contributing to the savings is the fact that TANF payments were last increased in July 2000.

The "Great Recession" had a negative impact on both the size of the TANF caseload and the number of employed TANF recipients. The impact was felt particularly in Virginia, as the share of low-skill employment fell by 28.3% from 2007- 2011, the second largest reduction in the nation (The Urban Institute, 2011). In 2013, economic conditions continued to improve and the TANF work outcomes improved as well.