TANF Work Participation Requirements


Family Development and Self Sufficiency Program (FaDSS) 

Supplemental TANF Work Activity

TANF Work Participation Requirements

Under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, parents and caretakers receiving cash assistance funded with TANF must engage in work activities as defined by the state TANF agency (in Iowa: the Department of Human Services).  Parents and caretakers may be exempt from participating for very limited reasons.  In addition, states are required to meet work participation rates.  These rates are based on the percent of parents and caretakers receiving cash assistance that participate a minimum number of hours per week on average, in certain countable activities established by federal law.  These activities are divided into core and non-core activities.  Time spent in non-core activities can only be included in the average hours per week in certain circumstances.

There are two separate rates that states must meet.  The all-family rate is 50% while the 2-parent rate (where both parents are in the home) is 90%.  These rates can be reduced if the state's TANF cash assistance caseloads have declined since 2005.  The rates are adjusted downward by the same percent that the corresponding caseload has decreased.  For example, if the state's all-family caseload decreased by 10% since 2005, the adjusted all-family work rate would be reduced to 40%.


PROMISE JOBS (PROMoting Independence and Self-sufficiency through Employment, Job Opportunities and Basic Skills)

Iowa's cash assistance program under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant is the Family Investment Program (FIP).  The PROMISE JOBS program provides work and training services to FIP participants.  DHS contracts with Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) to provide PROMISE JOBS services for most FIP participants.  DHS's Bureau of Refugee Services (BRS) provides PROMISE JOBS services to refugees on FIP who are not U.S. citizens and who are not English proficient.   Both FIP and PROMISE JOBS are funded with federal TANF Funds under Title IV-A of the Social Security Act and state general funds that are used to meet TANF Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirements.

All work eligible FIP participants must have a Family Investment Agreement (FIA).  The FIA is an individualized agreement between the FIP client and the state of Iowa that outlines the family's needs, the services to be provided by PROMISE JOBS, the actions the family will take, and the time frames to be met by the family so that the family can become economically self-supporting.  Since this is a FIP eligibility requirement, a family must meet with PROMISE JOBS and develop an FIA before they can start receiving FIP.  Continued eligibility for FIP is contingent upon the family following the steps in their FIA and failure to comply may result in a loss of FIP.


PROMISE JOBS FIA activities may include but are not limited to: assessment, job readiness and job-seeking skills training, employment, basic education (high school completion, GED, and ESL), post-secondary education (short-term training and AA, BA, and BS programs), work experience, community service, Family Development and Self-Sufficiency (FaDSS) program participation and other family development services, and parenting skills training. 


Supportive services provided by PROMISE JOBS include case management and the payment of child care and transportation needed to participate in certain FIA activities.  PROMISE JOBS may also provide assistance with direct education costs, such as tuition for basic education and short-term training.

The PROMISE JOBS- IWD SDR Component Activity and Results shows estimated Federal Work Participation Rate for IWD's 16 Service Delivery Regions (SDR) and the Bureau of Refugee Services (BRS).  Also shown is the number and percentage of participants involved in the different PROMISE JOBS FIA activities. The information is updated approximately mid-month with a two-month lag time for complete data entry.  For example, March 2011 data would be posted around mid-May. 

The link below provides a map of the SDR's and a link to the IWD website.


IWD Website

Family Development and Self Sufficiency Program (FaDSS) 

The FaDSS program provides in-home case management to families who are at risk of long-term dependency on the Family Investment Program (FIP).  FaDSS offers FIP families with significant or multiple barriers supportive services designed to help them reach economic self-sufficiency. 

Until state fiscal year 2007, the Department of Human Services contracted with the Department of Human Rights (DHR), Division of Community Action Agencies (DCAA) to administer the FaDSS grants program.  In July 2007, DHR became solely responsible for the administration of the FaDSS program. The Department of Human Services continues to report on results for FIP families receiving FaDSS services.

The FaDSS Results Report  shows results of the 18 providers of FaDSS services (grantees) statewide.  The information is updated approximately mid-month with a two-month lag time for complete data entry.  For example, March 2011 data is posted around mid-May. 

The link below will provide a map of the grantees and the FaDSS website.

FaDSS Grantee Map

FaDSS Website

Supplemental TANF Work Activity


Federal legislation enacted in late 2010 that reauthorized and funded the TANF block grant through September 2011, also included new TANF data reporting requirements for states.  This new report identifies:

1.    Cases having hours in countable activities that the state has not reported in the regular TANF data report for various reasons, including those hours that are over the federal limits.

2.    Cases having hours in non-countable activities that can help lead to self-sufficiency.

3.    For families not participating in either countable or self-sufficiency activities, the reason for non-participation.


States are allowed to report on a sample of 175 cases rather than their entire caseload.  Iowa has opted to report using a sample. 


States must report data for the months of March through June 2011.  At that time the federal TANF authority will review the information submitted by all the states and determine the need for and/or format of future reports.

Supplemental TANF reports

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