This is one of three OIG reports on how States administer client sanctions under TANF. One companion report, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: Improving the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Client Sanctions (OEI-09-98-00290), provides a broad overview of State administration of client sanctions. The other, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: Improving Client Sanction Notices (OEI-09-98-00292), reviews State methods for informing clients of sanction decisions via written notices.
The purpose of this report is to determine how States inform clients about sanction policies under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. We find that:
- TANF offices explain sanctions to clients repeatedly, using diverse methods
- Orientation materials commonly lack information about the amount of the sanction and the definition of good cause
- Most States describe other vital information about sanctions completely and present it in a logical format
- TANF clients do not fully understand sanctions and, according to caseworkers, are not concerned about sanctions until they are imposed
We recommend that the Administration for Children and Families encourage States to provide complete, correct, and understandable information to clients on: the causes of sanctions; the amounts of sanctions; the duration of sanctions; “good cause” reasons for work exemptions; and client appeal, fair hearing, and, if applicable, conciliation rights. (author abstract)