Temporary Assistance

Missouri has the distinction of enacting in 1911 the first "Mother’s Aid Law" in the history of the United States. This was a forerunner of the former aid to families with dependent children (AFDC) program which provided assistance to children who had been deprived of support due to the absence or incapacity of one or both parents or the unemployment of the principal wage earner. The AFDC program was an effort to keep families together and to help ensure a normal family life for the children. The maximum amount of the grant for each family was the highest percent of that family’s need as shall be possible within the limits of the funds appropriated for this program.

The Personal Responsibility Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) was passed by the House of Representatives on July 31, 1996 and by the Senate on August 1, 1996. On August 22, 1996 President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law. (PL 104-193)

The bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation with far-reaching implications for a number of public assistance programs. The bill eliminates the open-ended federal entitlement program of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), the program that provided cash assistance and MO HealthNet (MHF) for needy families and their children. Instead, the federal legislation creates a block grant for states to provide time-limited cash assistance to those same needy families. Further, the legislation severs the automatic link between AFDC eligibility and receipt of MO HealthNet benefits. Families may continue to be eligible for MO HealthNet (see MO HealthNet For Families (MHF)) but eligibility is no longer guaranteed for those families receiving cash assistance.

The legislation created the block grant cash assistance program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). In Missouri the program is referred to as "Temporary Assistance".

The purpose of the Temporary Assistance Program is to provide assistance to needy families with children so they can be cared for in their own home and to reduce dependency by promoting job preparation, work and marriage. Funds may also be used to prevent non-marital pregnancies and encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.

Major provisions include:

Temporary Assistance offers two types of services to families. The services available are cash assistance and case management. The Missouri Work Assistance (MWA) program provides case management services to TA recipients.

Who Is Eligible?

The child who:

and whose parent(s) with whom he or she is living:

For information regarding medical coverage, see Medical Services - MO HealthNet.

Overview of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program .