The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

TANF Lets States Swallow Child Support

May 13, 2019

“Temporary Assistance for Needy Families,” or TANF, replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997, thanks to Bill Clinton’s monstrous campaign to “end welfare as we know it.” One well-known part of this program is the requirement that recipients work at least 30 hours a week to receive their payments–and have a 5-year lifetime limit.

Less well-known is that to receive TANF assistance, single parents receiving child support must hand over their rights to those child support payments to the state. When a state collects child support on behalf of a TANF recipient, it has the right to KEEP the money to reimburse itself and the federal government for the TANF money.

Only four states pass through to the parent more than 75% of the child support they collect. Many of the other states pass through only pitiful amounts, $50 to $200. HALF of the states have chosen not to pass ANY child support money to the parent at all!

For example, in California, only the first $50 of child support goes to the children of low-income families that receive public assistance. In one case, a maintenance worker had paid $600 from his wages for child support for each pay period. But California took $550 as a public assistance repayment and gave the family only $50–with utter disregard for the survival of the kids.

The states treat these collections as government revenues, taking the money away from low income working class families. And then, of course, the states provide tax cuts and inflated contract payments to the rich and their businesses.

Thus, the U.S. is consciously pushing low income families and their kids further into poverty, just to serve the rich better.