Welfare to Work:

Implementation and Evaluation of Transitional Benefits Need HHS Action

HRD-92-118: Published: Sep 29, 1992. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on state implementation of transitional benefits, focusing on: (1) the proportion of eligible families receiving transitional child care (TCC) or transitional Medicaid benefits; (2) the reasons for variations among states; (2) state efforts to track the rates at which families return to the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program when their transitional benefits expire; and (3) the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) efforts to evaluate and report on the effectiveness of these benefits.

GAO found that: (1) most states lack readily available data to evaluate the success of their efforts to deliver transitional benefits; (2) state case loads for transitional benefits increased during the first 15 months after the benefits became available; (3) not all states comply with legislative and regulatory requirements to inform families about transitional benefits; (4) not all states comply with HHS regulations that allow families to request TCC and begin receiving it after their AFDC benefits are terminated; and (5) mandated HHS evaluations of transitional benefits have not progressed beyond initial design work that HHS began in early 1990.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress has not taken action on this recommendation. The recommendation is no longer applicable because the April 1993 deadline has passed and Congress is debating major changes to AFDC. These changes, along with health care reform, may change the nature and delivery of these benefits. An evaluation of the benefits as currently designed may not be fruitful.

    Matter: Congress should require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to submit a detailed plan for conducting, and a schedule for completing, the evaluations of both transitional benefits to the appropriate authorizing congressional committees by April 1993.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department's regional offices have reviewed the transitional child care policies of states identified as being noncompliant. The Department is advising those states that are still noncompliant and asking them to take corrective action. The Department will notify GAO during the second quarter of fiscal year 1993 of actions taken to confirm that states have corrected the relevant policies. The regional offices did review state policies and worked with those states that did not have complaint policies. No report was prepared by HHS documenting these efforts.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should review the notification and application policies of the states identified in this report as being noncompliant and act to ensure that such states conform with federal requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services


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