MD Already Satisfies New Federal Welfare Reporting Rules

The federal debt deal signed into law earlier this year requires states to do new reporting on outcomes for families receiving TANF benefits, but Maryland and local health and human service agencies have comparable reports dating back as far as 1997. 

The Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 was passed in June as part of a deal to keep the federal government from defaulting on its debt. According to a Route-Fifty article, part of that compromise now requires states to report on the outcomes of families leaving the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs. In Maryland this program is known as the Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) program. These new reporting requirements are due October of 2024.

In Maryland all local health and human services departments as well as the corresponding State agencies have TCA information available on their websites with a list of major requirements to participate in the program. These include things like providing proof of income and participating in workforce readiness programs. Although additional reporting requirements can sometimes be onerous on already strained systems, Maryland and the local facilities have been tracking comparable data since, what appears to be, at least as early as 1997, and even including region specific briefings in 2011.

The most recent update on TCA i.e. TANF in Maryland, can be found in the 2022 annual report. As custodians of the study, the University of Maryland School of Social Work has a compiled list of reports dating back to 1997. The administrative data sources are listed for each year with the 2022 data sets being acquired from Maryland state agencies including the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services as well as five additional state information management systems. The collaboration and longevity of this particular project has led to Maryland being cited in other reports, such as one done by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, as a potential model for other states who might be starting from scratch.

While the new legislation requires reporting, there are no required benchmarks or resulting consequences. The Urban Institute is currently circulating a fact sheet on what exactly those reporting requirements look like with key performance indicators. Those data points are employment, employment retention, employment earnings, and attainment of a high school degree.

Read the full Route-Fifty article.

See compiled Life After Welfare Series from University of Maryland School of Social Work.

Read the Urban Institute fact sheet.