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HHS/ACF RIN: 0970-AC79 Publication ID: Fall 2019 
Title: Strengthening Work in TANF 

This proposed rule responds to the President’s Executive Order 13828 which directed HHS to review all regulations and bring them into line with the Administration’s principles, which include strengthening existing work requirements. The NPRM will propose to make changes to strengthen the focus of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program on work and ensure that states maintain their financial commitment to helping needy families through the Federal-State partnership envisioned in the law. The rule will propose changes to TANF maintenance-of-effort provisions and the TANF provision that allows States to provide nominal payments to families who are already working and not otherwise receiving TANF.

Agency: Department of Health and Human Services(HHS)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Regulatory 
CFR Citation: 45 CFR 260   
Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 607(b)(3)    42 U.S.C. 609(a)(7)    42 U.S.C. 609(a)(15)   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

To encourage States to engage a greater number of TANF recipients in meaningful work preparation activities to help needy families achieve self-sufficiency through work.  This proposal aligns with President Trump’s Executive Order (E.O.) 13828 on welfare reform that embodied the principles of improving employment outcomes and economic independence.  The NPRM would:  Prohibit the practice of counting hours of participation for families that receive token payments; eliminate the excess maintenance-of-effort (MOE) provision of the caseload reduction credit calculation, which allows a State to reduce its work participation rate targets; and eliminate the ability of a State to count spending by non-governmental third parties toward the State’s MOE requirement.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

The NPRM would be issued under the general authority granted to the Secretary of HHS by section 1102(a) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 1302(a).  Section 1102(a) authorizes the Secretary to make and publish such rules as may be necessary for the efficient administration of functions with which he is charged under the Social Security Act.


There is no alternative action to address practices the NPRM would curtail; a regulation is necessary to make these changes.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

Costs will be limited.  Anticipated benefits are a slightly reduced paperwork burden on States and better engagement of TANF recipients in meaningful work requirements.



Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  12/00/2019 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: State 
Federalism: Yes 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Deborah List
Associate Deputy Director, Office of Family Assistance
Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
330 C Street SW,
Washington, DC 20201
Phone:202 401-5488