Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA)

In February 2006, President Bush signed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA), which reauthorized the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant through 2010.

On February 5, 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the Final Rule regarding the TANF program. These regulations required Washington to make major changes to the WorkFirst program in order to meet stricter federal participation standards and avoid paying penalties.

For more on the DRA Reauthorization of TANF

Washington State’s Response to DRA

Governor Gregoire’s press release on DRA — September 25, 2006

Governor Gregoire’s response to our Congressional Delegation TANF Letter from the Governor and Enclosure — December 21, 2006

Washington State's Work Verification Plan

The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 requires all states to prepare a Work Verification Plan which outlines the steps each state will take to ensure that the work participation requirements established by the DRA are implemented.  This plan must be approved by the federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF). 

Impacts of the DRA changes to the TANF program

  • More narrowly defines allowable work activities
  • Increases the work participation requirements
  • Creates uniform reporting, documentation and activity supervision requirements
  • Reiterates the penalties that increase dramatically over time to more than $120 million

Washington began implementing the federal changes to WorkFirst in October 2006.

Other perspectives on the federal changes to TANF