Governor Jim Doyle and Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman today announced the receipt of $10 million in federal dollars for demonstrated leadership in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. Wisconsin was granted one of the largest awards that was given to 41 states and the District of Columbia. Only five (5) states received more than Wisconsin’s $10.3 million.
“Wisconsin has always been a leader in employment programs. We are delighted that Wisconsin has been recognized with this bonus so that we can continue providing employment services and other resources to Wisconsin’s low income people,” said Governor Doyle. “These funds will allow us to help even more people reach self sufficiency,” added Doyle.
Said Secretary Gassman, “We are especially pleased to receive this funding during such tight fiscal times. This is a great opportunity to increase our capacity to meet the needs of Wisconsin’s children and families.”
The welfare reform legislation of 1996 authorized funding for annual performance achievement bonuses within the TANF program, called the High Performance Bonus. States can choose to compete in any or all of the performance bonus categories, but must supply data to federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in order to be considered for the award.
About 70 percent of the bonuses were awarded for employment achievement among TANF recipient adults -- including job entry, job retention and increased earnings. Bonuses also were awarded for program achievements in helping low-income working families take advantage of available Food Stamps and Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program coverage; in providing child care; and in increasing the proportion of children living in married couple families. Most of these awards are made for relative performance in the given year and for greatest improvement from the previous year.
Award amounts for each state depend upon the size of each state's TANF block grant. Under the law, states are limited to receiving bonuses in a given year of no more than five percent of their annual TANF block grant. Nine of the 41 states received their maximum possible bonus.
In addition to administering the state’s W-2 program, DWD provides training and employment assistance to people looking for work; works with employers to fill job openings; helps the disabled secure employment; links youth with jobs; protects and enforces worker’s rights; administers Wisconsin’s apprenticeship program; pays Unemployment Insurance claims; and, administers Workers Compensation.