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Excerpted from the 2000 House Ways and Means Green Book, "Social Services Block Grant"
Social Services Block Grant
Title XX of the Social Security Act, also referred to as the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), is a capped entitlement program. Thus, States are entitled to their share, according to a formula, of a nationwide funding ceiling or ``cap,'' which is specified in statute. Block grant funds are given to States to help them achieve a wide range of social policy goals, which include preventing child abuse, increasing the availability of child care, and providing community-based care for the elderly and disabled. Funds are allocated to the States on the basis of population. The allotments for Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands and the Northern Marianas from the national total are based on their allocation for fiscal year 1981 adjusted to reflect the new total funding level. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1987 (Public Law 100-203) extended eligibility for title XX funds to American Samoa. The Federal funds are available to States without a State matching requirement.
XX of the Social Security Act was created in 1975 (Public Law 93-647);
however, it was OBRA 1981 (Public Law 97-35) that amended title XX to
establish a ``block grant to States for social services.'' The entitlement
ceiling, or cap, was cut from the fiscal year 1981 level of $2.9 billion
to $2.4 billion for fiscal year 1982.
purpose of the Title XX Social Services Block Grant Program is to provide
assistance to States to enable them to furnish services directed at one or
more of five broad goals:
States are given wide discretion to determine the services to be provided and the groups that may be eligible for services, usually low income families and individuals. In addition to supporting social services, the law allows States to use their allotment for staff training, administration, planning, evaluation, and purchasing technical assistance in developing, implementing, or administering the State social service program. States decide what amount of the Federal allotment to spend on services, training, and administration.
restrictions are placed on the use of title XX funds. Funds cannot be used
for the following: most medical care except family planning;
rehabilitation and certain detoxification services; purchase of land,
construction, or major capital improvements; most room and board except
emergency short-term services; educational services generally provided by
public schools; most social services provided in and by employees of
hospitals, nursing homes, and prisons; cash payments for subsistence;
child day care services that do not meet State and local standards; and
wages to individuals as a social service except wages of welfare
recipients employed in child day care.
ON SERVICES, RECIPIENTS, AND EXPENDITURES
the past, limited information has been available on the use of title XX
funds by the States. Under the Title XX Social Services Block Grant
Program, each State must submit a report to the Secretary of the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on the intended use of its
funds. These preexpenditure reports are only required to include
information about the types of activities to be funded and the
characteristics of the individuals to be served.
Family Support Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-485) strengthened reporting
requirements. That legislation required States to submit annual reports
containing detailed information on the services actually funded and the
individuals served through title XX funds. DHHS published a final rule on
November 15, 1993 implementing the reporting requirements and providing
uniform definitions of services. Although all States are now submitting
these reports, DHHS has released very little summary information. In July
1999, DHHS released an analysis of expenditure and recipient data for
fiscal years 1995-97; however, the analysis included only 40 States. At
least 35 States in 1997 used title XX funds for each of the following
services: (1) daycare for children; (2) foster care services for children;
(3) home-based services; (4) prevention/intervention; and (5) protective
services for children.
single largest category of spending in fiscal year 1997 was child day
care, accounting for almost 13 percent of expenditures. The percentage of
total title XX expenditures dedicated to child welfare-related services,
shown in several categories (adoption services, foster care services for
children, and protective services for children), appears to have dropped
from 22.5 percent in 1995 to 16 percent in 1997. Home-based services and
special services for the disabled represent significant categories of
expenditures in 1997, accounting for almost 12 and 9 percent of spending,
respectively. States devoted about 14 percent of their expenditures to
administrative costs in each of the 3 years.
OF FUNDS AMONG BLOCK GRANTS
reform legislation enacted in 1996 (Public Law 104-193) replaced the Aid
to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) Program with a block grant to
States called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF; see section
7). The welfare reform law authorized States to transfer up to 30 percent
of their TANF allotments to title XX or to the Child Care and Development
Block Grant (CCDBG). However, as originally enacted, Public Law 104-193
required that, for every dollar transferred to title XX, States must
transfer $2 to the CCDBG. This provision was revised by the Balanced
Budget Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-33) so that States are allowed to
transfer up to 10 percent of their TANF allotment to title XX, regardless
of how much, if any, they transfer to the CCDBG. The welfare reform law
stipulates that any TANF funds transferred to title XX must be used for
families with incomes no higher than 200 percent of the Federal poverty
guidelines, and may be used to provide vouchers for families who are not
eligible for cash assistance under TANF because of time limits, or for
children who are denied cash assistance under TANF because they were born
into families already receiving benefits for another child.
in fiscal year 2001, under provisions of the Transportation Equity Act,
signed into law June 9, 1998 (Public Law 105-178), the percentage amount
of their annual TANF allotment that States can transfer into title XX is
scheduled to be reduced from 10 percent to 4.25 percent. This legislation
also permanently reduces the entitlement ceiling to $1.7 billion beginning
in fiscal year 2001.
Law 97-35, which created the title XX block grant, gave States the
authority to transfer up to 10 percent of their annual allotment to one or
any combination of the three health care block grants and the Low-Income
Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). (The three health care block
grants are: the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant; the
Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant; and the Alcohol, Drug
Abuse, and Mental Health Services Block Grant.) In turn, most other block
grant statutes allow States to transfer funds to the title XX program.
However, the Augustus F. Hawkins Human Services Reauthorization Act of
1990 eliminated the authority to transfer LIHEAP funds to other block
grants, beginning for fiscal year 1994.
SOCIAL SERVICES IN EMPOWERMENT ZONES AND ENTERPRISE COMMUNITIES
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (Public Law 103-66) made $1
billion available on an entitlement basis under title XX for the Secretary
of DHHS to make grants to States for social services in qualified
empowerment zones and enterprise communities (the legislation also
provided certain tax incentives for zones and communities). On December
21, 1994, President Clinton selected 105 designees to participate in this
program (6 urban and 3 rural empowerment zones, 60 urban and 30 rural
enterprise communities, 2 supplemental empowerment zones and 4 enhanced
enterprise communities). These funds remain available for expenditure for
10 years. The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-34) authorized a
second round of enterprise zone and community designations, but no title
XX funding was included for the second round.
empowerment zone or enterprise community is qualified for purposes of the
title XX grant if it has been designated a zone or community under part I,
subchapter U, chapter I of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and if its
strategic plan (required in an application for designation under the
Internal Revenue Code) is qualified.
qualified plan is a plan that: (1) includes a detailed description of the
activities proposed for the area that are to be funded with the grant; (2)
contains a commitment that the funds provided will not be used to supplant
Federal or non-Federal funds for services and activities which promote the
purposes of the grant; (3) to the extent a State does not use the funds on
certain program options, explains the reasons why not; and (4) explains
how the plan was developed in cooperation with the local government or
governments with jurisdiction over the zone or community.
respect to each empowerment zone, the Secretary was required to make one
grant ($50 million if urban, $20 million if rural) to each State in which
the zone lies on the date of its designation, and a second grant of the
same amount on the first day of the following fiscal year. With respect to
each enterprise community, the Secretary made one grant of up to $3
million to each State in which the community lies on the date of its
designation. States have up to 10 years from the date of their designation
in which to expend these additional title XX funds, although they must be
obligated within the first 2 years.
States, in conjunction with the local governments with jurisdiction
over the zone or community, have broad discretion in the use of grant
funds. Funds must be used for social services directed at three goals of
the basic title XX grant program: achieving or maintaining economic
self-support to prevent, reduce or eliminate dependency; achieving or
maintaining self-sufficiency, including reduction or prevention of
dependency; or preventing or remedying neglect, abuse, or exploitation of
children and adults unable to protect their own interests, or preserving,
rehabilitating or reuniting families. The funds also must be used in
accordance with the strategic plan and on activities that benefit
residents of the zone or community.
the similar purposes for which funds may be used, the range of allowable
services is narrower in some respects, and broader in others, under the
title XX empowerment zone provisions relative to the basic title XX
program. For example, the basic title XX program includes a broader range
of purposes than those outlined above for the empowerment zone program. On
the other hand, certain restrictions of the basic title XX program (e.g.,
restrictions that limit drug treatment services to initial detoxification,
and restrictions on the use of funds for the payment of wages) are waived
under the empowerment zone program, in order to carry out certain
specified program options.
$2.8 billion was the permanently authorized entitlement ceiling at the
time, Congress appropriated only $2.381 billion for title XX in fiscal
year 1996 (Public Law 104-134). The Personal Responsibility and Work
Opportunity Reconciliation Act (Public Law 104-193) subsequently set the
annual entitlement ceiling for title XX at $2.38 billion in each of fiscal
years 1997-2002. Under this legislation, the entitlement ceiling was
scheduled to return to the permanent level of $2.8 billion in fiscal year
2003. (Enactment of Public Law 105-178 in 1998 would subsequently lower
this ceiling--see below.) Despite the newly established ceiling of $2.38
billion, Congress appropriated $2.5 billion for title XX in fiscal year
1997 (Public Law 104-208).
June 1998, the Transportation Equity Act (TEA, Public Law 105-178) was
enacted, including a provision which schedules the title XX ceiling to be
reduced to $1.7 billion beginning in fiscal year 2001. This will result in
reductions of $680 million in each of fiscal years 2001 and 2002 (from the
previously scheduled ceiling of $2.38 billion), and annual reductions of
$1.1 billion beginning in fiscal year 2003 (from the previously scheduled
entitlement ceiling of $2.8 billion). In addition to reducing the ceiling,
the TEA reduces the percentage of a State's annual TANF allotment that it
may transfer to title XX, beginning in fiscal year 2001, from 10 percent
to 4.25 percent.
fiscal year 1998 appropriations measure (Public Law 105-178) decreased
title XX funding to $2.299 billion, once again below the $2.38 billion
ceiling established under the welfare reform law of 1996. In explaining
the reduction, the Senate Appropriations Committee noted that funding is
provided for social services through other Federal programs. The House
Appropriations Committee expressed concern that DHHS lacked information on
the effectiveness of SSBG-funded activities. Funding for title XX
continued to decline with a $1.909 billion appropriation under the Omnibus
Consolidated Appropriations Act for fiscal year 1999 (Public Law 105-277).
For fiscal year 2000, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (Public Law
106-113) set title XX funding at $1.775 billion, of which $425 million may
not be obligated to States until September 29, 2000.
This document is not necessarily endorsed by the Almanac of Policy Issues. It is being preserved in the Policy Archive for historic reasons.