As a consequence of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the United States is experiencing a nationwide emergency, implicating both public health and the economy. Secretary Azar declared a nationwide public health emergency on January 31, 2020, and President Trump declared a national emergency on March 13, 2020.
The Office of Family Assistance (OFA) has heard from several grantees expressing concerns about the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the Tribal TANF program and is fielding many questions about how Tribal TANF can help support people affected by it. Its top priority is the public health and safety of all those operating its programs and receiving its services. Increased need in many tribal nations for basic assistance and other financial benefits may arise as a result of the pandemic. With that in mind, this program instruction (PI) builds on TANF-ACF-PI-2020-01 (Questions and answers about TANF and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic), found at /ofa/resource/tanf-acf-pi-2020-01, which addressed questions and answers about how state and tribal grantees might use TANF to help those in need and TANF’s administrative flexibilities for both states and tribes. This program instruction addresses frequently asked questions about the flexibilities available to tribes and the requirements for providing non-recurrent, short-term (NRST) benefits to those in need as a result of COVID-19.
The U.S. Department of Human Services (HHS) issues TANF work participation rates, which measure how well states engage families receiving assistance in certain work activities during a fiscal year. A state must meet an overall (or “all families”) and a two-parent work participation requirement or face a potential financial penalty. The statutory requirements for fiscal year (FY) 2014 are 50 percent for all families and 90 percent for two-parent families, but a state’s individual target rates equal the statutory rates minus a credit for reducing its caseload.