Despite 19 Months of Recession, TANF Rolls Show Little Growth

The Department of Health and Human Services on January 7, 2010 updated the TANF caseload data reported on its web site to include the second quarter of calendar year 2009. The new data shows that the number of persons (both adults and children) receiving TANF increased only 6.6% over the first nineteen months of the recession, rising from 4,014,111 in December 2007 to 4,278,030 in June 2009.

This 6.6% TANF increase was far less than the increase in the real need for assistance implied by the increase over this same nineteen month period of 27.4% in the number of Food Stamp recipients (from 27.56 million to 35.13 million) and of 80% in the unemployment rate (from 5.0% to 9.5%). Moreover, with California excluded, the national TANF caseload increased only 3.4% over this period.