Department of Labor

Information Systems for Reporting Work Participation Data

The Federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (Federal Act) of 1996 requires recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to participate in a minimum number of hours of work or work-related activities to maintain their full benefits. The Federal Act also requires states to meet Federal goals for work participation to receive their full TANF block grants, and to report their work participation data to the Federal government. The Department of Labor (Department) supervises local district administration of employment and training programs for public assistance recipients and collects work participation data.

We found that the Department needs to improve the information systems it uses to track and report work participation data to the Federal government. The Department maintains work participation data for recipients outside of New York City on the Welfare Management Systems' Employment Subsystem (ESS). However, the ESS does not contain data on recipients' actual work hours, does not allow retroactive corrections of participation data, and does not provide aggregate data by individual. Further, the timeliness and accuracy of reports the Department sends districts to help them track participation data needs to be improved, and should be in a format districts can use. Until the new automated management system, now in development, is in place, we recommend the Department improve the current report process to enable districts to better track work activities. The Department should also continually analyze district information needs and incorporate those needs in developing its new system.

For a complete copy of Report 99-S-9 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.