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Title: Welfare Reform Act of 1996
Vote Smart's Synopsis:
Vote to pass a bill that overhauls the federal welfare system by modifying a number of federal programs including the national food stamp and child nutrition programs, and creating the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program.
- Replaces the current Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) programs with a single, combined program of block grants, beginning in FY 1996 through 2001 to eligible States with Federal-approved plans for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).
- Eliminates AFDC transitional and at-risk child care programs.
- Imposes a 5 year lifetime limit on receiving TANF benefits.
- Requires "able-bodied" recipients to go to work once the state has determined they are ready to work or once they have received assistance for a total of two-years, whichever is earliest.
- Allocates $583 million to states for fiscal years 1996 through 2002 for employment and training programs for those receiving benefits.
- Allocates $13.85 billion for grants to states for child care assistance for FY1997 through FY2002.
- Requires that at least 70 percent of child assistance grants be used for families attempting to transition off of, or are at risk of becoming dependent on, assistance programs.
- Imposes a 1 year limit on the certification period for food stamp benefits, unless all adult members of the household are elderly or disabled, in which case the certification period is limited to two years.
- Prohibits undocumented immigrants from receiving State and Federal benefits, except for emergency medical services, certain types of emergency disaster relief, public health immunizations, housing assistance, and certain Social Security Act benefits.
- Requires 5 years of residence in the United States for legal immigrants to be eligible for Federal means-tested services, unless the immigrant is a refugee, has been granted asylum, has had his or her deportation withheld or has or is serving in the United State Armed Services.
- Allows states to contract with charitable, religious, and private organizations to provide services and administer programs established or modified under this Act; prohibits federal funds from being used for sectarian worship, instruction, or proselytization.
- Disqualifies any individual who participates in the food stamp program or Supplemental Security Income in 2 or more states from receiving any further benefits for 10 years.
- Requires certain adult-supervised living arrangements and attendance of high school or equivalent training for unmarried teenage parents to be eligible for TANF.
- Authorizes grants to reward states that reduce the number of out-of-wedlock births.
- Denies assistance to families that include a fugitive felon, or an individual in violation of probation or parole.
- Expands methods of collecting late child support, such as reporting offenders to credit bureaus or suspension or revocation of their license and passport.
- Prohibits any additional cash assistance from going to a family that has a child after receiving aid for at least 10 months, except under certain circumstances.