Summary: H.R.4737 — 107th Congress (2001-2002)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (07/25/2002)

Work, Opportunity, and Responsibility for Kids Act of 2002 (WORK Act of 2002) - (Sec. 101) Amends part A (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) (TANF) of title IV of the Social Security Act (SSA) to revise, reauthorize, and extend the TANF program, with changes: (1) reauthorizing and extending State family assistance grants through FY 2007 at specified levels; (2) increasing such grants for certain States; (3) reauthorizing and extending through FY 2007 at a specified level, and restructuring, the contingency fund, modifying the definition of needy State, and eliminating the penalty for failure to maintain 100 percent maintenance of effort; and (4) reauthorizing and extending through FY 2007 at specified levels, and revising, child care grants, including with regard to amounts reserved for Indian tribes and tribal organizations for child care assistance, providing for additional child care grants, and requiring States in their TANF plans to certify that procedures are in effect to ensure that any child care provider delivering child care services funded by TANF complies with all applicable State or local health and safety requirements.

(Sec. 104) Amends the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) to give a State the option of exempting its TANF program from the limitation on qualified aliens receiving any Federal means-tested public benefit for a period of five years after entering the country.

Amends PRWORA to extend State authority to provide for eligibility of illegal aliens for State and local public benefits to an alien who otherwise is not a qualified alien.

(Sec. 105) Amends SSA title IV part A to permit a State or tribe to use a grant under the TANF program for any fiscal year to provide, without fiscal year limitation, any benefit or service that may be provided under such program.

Provides: (1) that the cap on administrative expenditures a State may make using a TANF grant be determined without regard to any amounts transferred to carry out an access to jobs project or a reverse commute project; and (2) the authority for such transfer.

Eliminates the trust requirement for individual development accounts.

Gives a State receiving a TANF grant the option to use it to establish a postsecondary education program under which an eligible participant may be provided assistance and other benefits as determined by the State, including support services. Allows such States to use the grant to provide supplemental housing benefits and to pay the costs of minor rehabilitation of housing owned or rented by individuals eligible for TANF assistance, consistent with a definition of minor housing rehabilitation adopted by the State.

(Sec. 106) Defines "assistance" to mean payment, by cash, voucher, or other means, to or for an individual or family for the purpose of meeting a subsistence need of the individual or family (including food, clothing, shelter, and related items, but not including costs of transportation, child care, or supplemental housing benefits), with certain exceptions.

(Sec. 107) Extends the maintenance-of-effort (MOE) requirement for five years, through FY 2008, and allows a State to count as a qualifying MOE expenditure amounts of child support arrearages distributed to former TANF families.

(Sec. 108) Amends SSA title XI to increase the total annual cap on Federal funding for public assistance programs for the territories, and to reauthorize through FY 2007 matching grants connected with territory public assistance programs.

(Sec. 109) Amends SSA title IV part A to eliminate an interest-bearing loan fund for State TANF programs.

(Sec. 110) Restores permanently a State's authority to transfer up to ten percent of any annual grant made to it under TANF to carry out State programs pursuant to title XX (Block Grant to States for Social Services) (SSBG), beginning in FY 2003. Amends SSBG to fund SSBG at a level of $1.952 billion for FY 2005.

(Sec. 111) Strikes provisions (declared unconstitutional) that allow a State TANF program to treat interstate immigrants under rules of their former State.

Title II: Work - (Sec. 201) Amends SSA title IV part A to modify individual responsibility plans (IRP) requirements, among other changes requiring States to screen and assess: (1) the education, skills, prior work experience, work readiness, and barriers to employment of adult or minor child head of household receiving assistance who has reached age 18 or has not completed high school or obtained a certificate of high school equivalency, and is not attending secondary school; (2) the work support, work readiness, and family support services for which families receiving assistance are eligible; and (3) the well-being of children in the family and, where appropriate, activities or resources to improve the well-being of the children. Requires an IRP for each adult and minor child head of household. Requires the State agency to: (1) monitor the participation of each adult recipient in the activities specified in the IRP; (2) regularly review family progress toward self-sufficiency; and, upon such review, (3) revise the plan and activities required under the plan as the State deems appropriate in consultation with the family. Requires such a review before imposing a sanction. Provides for grants to assist with implementation of universal engagement of welfare recipients in activities to promote self-sufficiency.

(Sec. 202) Changes work participation requirements, eliminating the separate work participation rate for two parent families and increasing the work participation rate by five percentage points a year until FY 2008.

Eliminates the caseload reduction credit and substitutes an employment credit.

Allows: (1) partial credit for recipients who work part-time, so long as they work at least 50 percent of the time required of them; and (2) States to count as engaged in work persons receiving substantial child care or transportation assistance.

Removes from work participation rate calculations TANF recipients who become eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits during the year.

Increases priority work activity hours to 24 per week.

Includes time-limited rehabilitative services as work activities, provided they are required by the recipient's IRP.

Increases to eight the number of weeks for which job search counts as a work activity, and to 24 the number of months for which vocational educational training counts as a work activity, and includes within such limit postsecondary education that is a requirement of the individual's IRP.

Eliminates recipients completing secondary school from the limit on the number of TANF recipients participating in vocational education training.

Gives States that elect to establish a postsecondary education program the option to include for purposes of determining monthly participation rates all families with an individual participating in the program during the month as being engaged in work for the month, so long as each such individual is in compliance with program requirements. Limits the number of families treated as being engaged in work for any month to ten percent of the average monthly number of families to which assistance is provided under the State TANF program during the fiscal year or the immediately preceding fiscal year (but not both, as the State may elect).

Allows a State to exempt from work requirements the full-time caregiver of a family member who is disabled and to exclude this family in calculating the State's work participation rate, if: (1) there are no other adults in the family who are able-bodied; (2) the State or locality administering the State TANF program determines that the demands of caregiving do not allow the recipient to obtain or retain employment of at least 30 hours per week; and (3) the need to provide caregiving is specified in the recipient's IRP.

Title III: Family Promotion and Support - (Sec. 301) Amends SSA title IV part A to repeal illegitimacy reduction bonus funding, replacing it with a new Healthy Marriage Promotion Grant program to support demonstration projects to promote stronger families, with an emphasis on the promotion of healthy marriages. Makes appropriations.

(Sec. 302) Reauthorizes and extends through FY 2007 the abstinence education program under the Maternal and Child Health program under SSA title V (Maternal and Child Health Services). Makes appropriations.

Establishes a program of grants under the Maternal and Child Health program through FY 2007 to implement abstinence first teen pregnancy prevention strategies. Makes appropriations.

(Sec. 303) Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary) to make a grant for establishment of a national teen pregnancy prevention resource center to: (1) provide information and technical assistance to States, Indian tribes, local communities, and other public or private organizations seeking to reduce rates of teen pregnancy; and (2) assist such entities in their efforts to work through all forms of media to communicate effective messages about preventing teen pregnancy. Makes appropriations.

(Sec. 304) Includes under SSA title IV part D (Child Support and Establishment of Paternity): (1) a noncustodial parent employment grant program for supervised employment for noncustodial parents who are determined by a court or responsible State agency to have a history of nonpayment or irregular payment of child support obligations and are in need of employment services in order to pay such child support obligations; and (2) a program of grants to conduct policy reviews and demonstration projects to coordinate services for low-income, non-custodial parents. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 305) Authorizes under TANF a grant program to establish or expand second chance homes that provide young mothers and their children with a supportive and supervised living arrangement in which such mothers are required to learn parenting skills to promote their long-term economic independence and the well-being of their children. Authorizes appropriations.

Title IV: Health Coverage - (Sec. 401) Amends SSA title XIX (Medicaid) to revise and extend for five years the transitional medical assistance program (TMA), with changes: (1) permitting States to provide continuous eligibility for TMA for 12 months and extend eligibility for low-income individuals for up to 12 additional months; (2) allowing States to drop the requirement that families must have received Medicaid for three of the preceding six months in order to be eligible for TMA; (3) requiring each State to collect and submit to the Secretary information on average monthly enrollment and average monthly participation rates for adults and children and make such information publicly available; (4) requiring the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to work with the Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families to develop guidance or other technical assistance for States regarding best practices in guaranteeing access to TMA; (5) allowing the option of providing TMA to States that extend Medicaid coverage to children and parents with average gross monthly earnings (less such costs for such child care as is necessary for the employment of a caretaker relative) of up to 185 percent of the Federal poverty line; (6) requiring States to notify families whose aid under TANF has terminated, but whose eligibility for Medicaid continues, of such eligibility, or how to establish it; and (7) extending use of outstationed workers to accept applications for TMA.

(Sec. 402) Provides for optional coverage of legal immigrants under the Medicaid program and under SSA title XXI (State Children's Health Insurance) (SCHIP).

(Sec. 403) Amends PRWORA to make aliens who are not qualified aliens, nonimmigrants, or alien parolees no longer eligible to receive State or local public benefits involving: (1) assistance for health care items and services that are necessary for the treatment of an emergency medical condition of the alien involved; or (2) public health assistance for immunizations with respect to immunizable diseases and for testing and treatment of symptoms of communicable diseases whether or not such symptoms are caused by a communicable disease. Excludes from the meaning of the term State or local public benefit any health benefit for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household, or family eligibility unit by a State or local government agency or by appropriated funds of a State or local government.

Title V: Child Support and Child Welfare - (Sec. 501) Amends SSA title IV part A to revise the rule requiring assignment of support rights as a condition of receiving TANF, limiting the child support assignment to the period in which the family receives TANF benefits.

Amends title IV part D (Child Support and Establishment of Paternity) to modify the rules for the distribution of child support collected by States on behalf of children of families receiving TANF benefits, providing, among other changes, for: (1) increased support payments to families receiving TANF benefits and to families that formerly received TANF benefits; and (2) with respect to such later families, more simplified child support distribution or distribution as done currently. Allows a State with a "section 1115" waiver that became effective on or before October 1, 1997, to pass through child support payments in accordance with its waiver. Prohibits States from using the State child support enforcement program to collect any amount owed to the State because of costs incurred under the State Medicaid plan for the birth of a child for whom support rights have been assigned under the TANF, child support enforcement, or Medicaid programs.

Gives States the option to discontinue certain support assignments.

(Sec. 502) Requires the State to review and adjust, if appropriate, child support orders for families receiving TANF every three years or such shorter cycle as the State may determine (without request of either parent or the State agency under a TANF assignment, as currently required).

(Sec. 503) Decreases from $5,000 to $2,500 the amount of child support arrearages triggering the denial, revocation, or limitation of passports.

(Sec. 504) Permits the use of the Federal income tax refund intercept program to collect past-due child support on behalf of all children, including those who are not minors.

(Sec. 505) Requires the Secretary to pay to each State a certain amount for FY 2003 to carry out any of the following activities: (1) review of policies on collecting fees; (2) review of the distribution options and, if a State elects them, preparation for implementation of the options; (3) updating of automated systems; (4) improved customer service; (5) examination of the causes of, and proposed solutions for, undistributed collections; (6) examination of the buildup of arrears and approaches to arrears management; (7) approaches to improving interstate collections; (8) approaches to improving the percentage of cases with orders; and (9) review of the review and adjustment policies for families on TANF. Makes appropriations for FY 2003.

(Sec. 506) Extends from January 1, 1998, to October 1, 2004, the deadline by which each State must have in effect the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, as in effect on January 2, 2002 (currently, August 22, 1996).

Amends the Federal judicial code to declare that a court of a State that has made a child support order has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction to modify its order, if the order is the controlling order and: (1) the State is the child's State or the residence of any individual contestant; or (2) if the State is not the residence of the child or an individual contestant, the contestant's consent in a record or in open court that the court may continue to exercise jurisdiction to modify its order. Revises also the current rules regarding the enforcement of modified orders, and makes other changes to current rules regarding authority to modify orders, and recognition of child support orders.

(Sec. 507) Directs the Secretary to: (1) promulgate final regulations for making direct payments to Indian tribes and tribal organizations for tribal child support enforcement programs; and (2) report to specified congressional committees on the procedures States use to locate custodial parents for whom child support has been collected but not yet distributed.

(Sec. 509) Amends SSA title IV part D to permit State agencies responsible for the administration of an unemployment compensation program under Federal or State law to access the National Directory of New Hires via the Secretary to assist in administration of unemployment compensation programs.

(Sec. 510) Requires the Secretary to report annually to specified congressional committees on the performance of State child support enforcement programs.

(Sec. 511) Amends SSA title XI to: (1) extend through FY 2007 the authority for the Secretary to authorize up to ten demonstration projects likely to promote the objectives of the child welfare programs under SSA title IV parts B or E; and (2) prohibit the Secretary from imposing any limit on the number of demonstration projects that a State may be authorized to conduct, or the number of waivers that may be granted to a State.

Title VI: Tribal Issues - (Sec. 601) Amends SSA title IV part A with respect to direct funding and administration by Indian tribes to: (1) reauthorize and extend through FY 2007 the tribal family assistance grant program; (2) replace grants for Indian tribes that received Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) Training Program funds with grants for tribal human services program infrastructure improvement, grants for tribal development, and grants for technical assistance, authorized through FY 2006; (3) earmark contingency funding for grants to Indian tribes with approved tribal family assistance plans that are operating in situations of increased economic hardship; (4) provide for a program of grants for tribal employment services programs; (5) provide for equitable access under tribal family assistance plans; (6) allow States greater flexibility to design welfare programs in areas of Indian country or an Alaskan native village with high joblessness; (7) requires the Secretary to convene an advisory committee on the status of Indians who do not reside in Indian country and an advisory committee of Indians who are expert in social services and the spiritual aspects of traditional Indian cultures.

Makes appropriations for FY 2003 through 2006 for tribal TANF improvement grants.

(Sec. 602) Amends SSA title IV part E to allow an Indian tribe, tribal organization, or an intertribal consortium to operate foster care and adoption assistance programs under the same requirements as those applying to States.

Title VII: Innovation, Flexibility, and Accountability - (Sec. 701) Amends SSA title IV part A to revise data collection and reporting requirements, repealing the requirement to report on the education level of each child, and adding a requirement to report on whether an IRP has been established for each family, among other changes. Modifies performance measures, replacing requirements on annual ranking of States and review of most and least successful work programs with a requirement for the Secretary to issue annually specified data (such as job entry and retention rates for current and former TANF recipients) regarding the performance of each State TANF program for the two preceding fiscal years in helping assistance recipients become self-sufficient through employment earnings. Replaces annual ranking of States and review of issues relating to out-of-wedlock births with requirements establishing a national goal of reducing teen pregnancy by one-third by December 31, 2007.

(Sec. 702) Revises State TANF plan requirements. Includes efforts eliminating barriers to work (such as physical or mental disabilities, substance abuse, adult illiteracy, domestic violence, and lack of affordable housing) among work readiness activities meeting work requirements. Repeals the requirement that the State plan indicate how the State intends to treat families moving into the State from another State. Requires State certification that: (1) if it provides transportation aid under its TANF program, State and local transportation agencies and planning bodies have been consulted in the development of the plan; and (2) if a State provides housing aid under the program, State and housing agencies and authorities have been consulted in the development of the plan.

Requires the Secretary to develop a proposed Standard State Plan Form to be used by States in submitting their TANF plans.

(Sec. 703) Requires the Secretary to: (1) develop comprehensive indicators to assess child well-being in each State; and (2) establish an advisory panel regarding the appropriate measures and statistical tools necessary for making the assessment. Earmarks funding through FY 2007 for such assessment initiative.

Requires the Secretary to conduct: (1) longitudinal studies of TANF applicants and recipients in between five and ten States or sub-State areas to determine factors contributing to positive employment and family outcomes; (2) a random assignment study comparing the effects of full-family sanctions, partial sanctions, and other policies for increasing engagement in work activities; and (3) a study of a representative sample of teen parents who are TANF recipients to determine whether Federal and State data on their number is accurate, what assessment procedures are used that would detect a housing or an educational barrier, and service and eligibility requirements for these recipients. Reserves TANF funding through FY 2007 for current and new research initiatives.

Requires the Secretary to conduct research to improve the effectiveness of tribal family assistance programs and other tribal welfare programs and on efforts to reduce poverty among Indians, and reserves funding for such research as appropriate. Reserves FY 2003 TANF funds for this research.

(Sec. 704) Replaces the current high performance bonus with a competitive Business Link Partnership program of grants for employers, nonprofits, local workforce investment boards, States, political subdivisions of a State, and Indian tribes to: (1) promote business linkages that increase wages of eligible individuals; (2) provide for transitional jobs programs; and (3) develop capitalization procedures for the delivery of self-sustaining social services. Makes appropriations for FY 2003 through 2007.

(Sec. 705) Includes under TANF a program of grants to improve access to transportation to: (1) assist low-income families with children obtain dependable, affordable automobiles to improve their employment opportunities and access to training; and (2) provide incentives to States, Indian tribes, local governments, and non-profit entities to develop and administer programs that provide assistance with automobile ownership for low-income families. Authorizes appropriations for FY 2003 through 2007.

Gives States the option of allowing individual development accounts to be used for the purchase or maintenance of an automobile.

(Sec. 706) Directs the Secretary to award grants to between five and ten States, and Indian tribes, to enable them to carry out demonstration projects to provide at-home infant care benefits to eligible low-income families. Makes appropriations for FY 2003 through 2007.

(Sec. 707) Directs the Secretary and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to award jointly grants to conduct demonstration projects on housing with services for families (including caretaker relatives and non-custodial parents) with multiple barriers to work. Authorizes appropriations for FY 2004.

(Sec. 708) Allows States the option to provide TANF-funded assistance to teen parents for up to 60 days while aiding the parent to comply with the requirement that teen parents live in adult-supervised settings. Adds transitional living youth projects funded under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act as an acceptable form of adult-supervised residential setting.

(Sec. 709) Requires TANF programs to be mandatory partners with one-stop employment training centers unless the State opts out.

(Sec. 710) Directs the Secretary, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Education, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the chief administering officer of any other Federal agency with responsibility for administering a federally funded social services program to jointly review and report to Congress on proposals for improving the Federal laws (including regulations and guidelines) applicable to the approval of human service information systems.

(Sec. 711) Authorizes States to opt to continue to operate through FY 2007 under a "section 1115" waiver (of certain demonstration project requirements granted before enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996) which would otherwise expire between October 1, 2002, and September 30, 2007. Subjects such continuation, however, to application of universal engagement and IRP requirements. Requires the Secretary to approve waivers to duplicate innovative programs if the terms are similar or identical to the terms of a continued waiver.

(Sec. 712) Revises the prohibition against displacement of current employees or nonvacant positions by adult TANF recipients seeking to engage in work activity. Extends such prohibition to partial displacement (reduction of overtime hours, wages, or benefits). Prohibits a work activity from impairing existing contracts for services. Declares that certain workplace laws apply to TANF recipients in the same manner as they apply to other workers. Bans imposition of stricter eligibility criteria to two-parent families than would apply to a one-parent family.

Title VIII: Other Provisions - (Sec. 801) Aligns initial review requirements for State agency blindness and disability determinations under SSA title XVI with those currently required under SSA title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance).

(Sec. 802) Extends customs user fees through February 28, 2005.

Title IX: Effective Date - Sets forth the effective date of this Act.