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Public comment sought on caseload reduction credit calculation method

Federal law requires states to monitor and report trends in the numbers of people who receive financial assistance through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. Minnesota uses TANF money to fund the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP).

Federal law requires states’ TANF programs to meet a 50 percent work participation rate. The "work participation rate" (WPR) measures the proportion of TANF recipients who take part in federally defined work activities for a sufficient number of hours each week. The 50 percent rate may be adjusted by historic reductions in caseload for reasons other than eligibility changes, called a caseload reduction credit. To determine the TANF caseload reduction credit, Minnesota uses the following methodology:

  • • If the average monthly number of cases receiving TANF assistance in the most recent federal fiscal year was lower than the average monthly caseload in federal fiscal year 2005, then the minimum overall work participation rate that Minnesota must meet for the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) decreases by the number of percentage points the prior-year caseload fell in comparison to the FFY 2005 caseload. The TANF assistance caseload includes cases receiving TANF cash payments and cases in any Separate State Program (SSP) which is funded by state funds used for TANF Maintenance of Effort (MOE).
  • • The actual caseload decrease must be offset by any caseload decreases that resulted from policy changes that reduced TANF eligibility as compared to FFY05, and may also be reduced by caseload increases that resulted from policy changes.
  • • The FFY13 TANF+SSP average monthly caseload declined by 28 percent relative to the FFY05 TANF+SSP caseload.
  • • This decline is more than offset by policy changes relating to funding:
  • - MFIP cases with two eligible parents and/or receiving Family Stabilization Services no longer receive TANF/SSP funds
  • - Two-parent cases and FSS cases were required to be funded with state nonMOE cash, beginning October 2006 and February 2008, respectively
  • - The average monthly TANF+SSP caseload in FFY13 decreased by 33 percent as a result of these funding changes.
  • • The implementation of the Work Benefit Program in October 2009 results in an offsetting increase in the TANF+SSP caseload. In FFY 2013, an average of 1,826 cases Work Benefit cases received SSP funding, a 5.7 percent increase over the FFY05 caseload.
  • • Changes relating to SSI budgeting (capped at $125 per case in November 2005 and then eliminated in February 2008) and exemptions for vehicles counted in asset tests (higher exemptions began in January 2008) resulted in additional TANF cases which would have been budgeted to zero cash or ineligible under the FFY05 program rules. These changes increased the TANF caseload in FFY2013 by 3.7 percent relative to the FFY05 caseload.
  • • Additional policy changes relating to counting fraud months toward the 60-month limit and child support assignment are estimated to have decreased the FFY2013 caseload relative to the FFY05 caseload very slightly.
  • • The estimated caseload reduction credit for Minnesota in FFY14 is 28% — (33% — 5.7% —3.7%) = 4.4%.
  • • Federal rule also allows a state to further reduce the "target" work participation rate by claiming more than the minimum required state funds for the TANF program. These funds are referred to as "excess MOE". The working family credit and other qualified expenditures have the capacity to provide excess MOE for this purpose. The number of cases which can be served with Excess MOE, as determined by average annual spending on TANF assistance cases, can be claimed as further caseload reduction. Minnesota will claim excess MOE in order to increase the caseload reduction credit in FFY14.

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