Since 1996, welfare has been administered through block grants to states. The grant program, called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or TANF, limits how long families can get aid and requires recipients to eventually go to work. It also includes stringent reporting requirements for states to show they are successfully moving people into the workforce.
from George Sheldon, acting assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, said the department wanted to give states more flexibility in meeting those requirements. The memo notifies states "of the Secretary’s willingness to exercise her waiver authority ... to allow states to test alternative and innovative strategies, policies, and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families."
What does that mean?
"If you can do a better job connecting people to work, we would consider waiving certain parts of the performance measures and use alternate measures," is how Liz Schott, a senior fellow at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, translated the memo’s point. (The center supports the plan.)