This chapter reviews the Family Violence Option of the 1996 Welfare Reform Bill and elaborates on the difference in the Family Violence Option programs between states. The Family Violence Option of PRWORA allows TANF recipients to opt out of time limits and/or welfare to work requirements if they meet certain federal guidelines. This Option can be an integral part of a battered immigrant woman’s life, giving her time to look for safe housing, flee violent abusers, and pursue legal cases against their abuses. In order to best implement the Option, this chapter discusses how TANF funding is distributed and how to identify the immigrant applicants that would best benefit from the Family Violence Option.
The goal of this training manual is to provide a background for TANF eligibility workers on qualified alien battered immigrant access to TANF. It will also provide direction to TANF workers on how to assess battered immigrant eligibility for TANF following the Guidance issued by the Attorney General of the United States setting out a four step process for making eligibility determinations in cases of battered immigrants and other immigrants applying for public benefits. This pilot training manual will focus only on TANF eligibility workers on qualified alien battered immigrants. Addressing each of the major benefits programs (e.g. Medicaid, SCHIP, Food Stamps, Public Housing) is beyond the scope of this training manual, and is an endeavor that we hope to undertake in the future once this pilot TANF training manual has been field tested, updated, revised, and published in its final form. However, because battered immigrant women and children who qualify for TANF will also likely qualify for other federal public benefits, including other federal means tested public benefits, we will discuss some of those programs basic requirements at appropriate points in this manual.