Analysis prepared by
the American Public Welfare Association (APWA) (now APHSA),
the National Governors’ Association (NGA),
and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
Revised August 22, 1996
The conference agreement for H.R. 3734, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, was passed by the House of Representatives on July 31, 1996 (328 yeas to 101 nays), and by the Senate on August 1 (78 yeas to 21 nays). President Clinton signed the bill on August 22, 1996, thus "ending welfare as we know it."
The bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation with far-reaching implications in a number of programs. The bill eliminates the open-ended federal entitlement program of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and creates a new program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which provides block grants for states to offer time-limited cash assistance. The comprehensive legislation also makes far-reaching changes to child care, the Food Stamp Program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for children, benefits for legal immigrants, and the Child Support Enforcement program. Modifications to the child nutrition programs and a reduction in the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) also are included in the act. Unlike previous versions, however, current law is retained for child welfare and child protection programs. The legislation will save an estimated $54.5 billion over six years, with most of the savings due to changes in the Food Stamp Program and reductions in benefits for legal immigrants.
To learn more about what is in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, select from the sections below.
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