South Dakota receives bonus for moving people from welfare to work

South Dakota receives bonus for moving people from welfare to work South Dakota has been awarded a $949,973 High Performance Bonus for its ability to move people from welfare to work and toward self-sufficiency, according to Department of Social Services Secretary James Ellenbecker.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human services has awarded the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program the bonus for its success in the work force for federal fiscal year 2001 (Oct. 1, 2000-Sept. 30, 2001). Ellenbecker said success in the work force is measured by the number of people who retained their jobs and how much income they earned.

"Much of the success in our welfare program can be attributed to our work-first philosophy," Ellenbecker said. "When people come into our offices and apply for TANF assistance, our main goal is to assist them in finding jobs."

During federal fiscal year 2001, the state's TANF program helped 1,471 recipients find a job, many of which were full time jobs. Ellenbecker said in most instances, income from these jobs helped move these recipients off the welfare role.

"The hard work and dedication of state employees and the investments the state has made to help welfare recipients move toward self-sufficiency is paying off," Ellenbecker said. "Our TANF program is helping families find and succeed at work so they can leave welfare dependency behind."

The welfare reform legislation of 1996 authorized funding for annual performance achievement bonuses within the TANF program. Ellenbecker said the criteria used to determine the High Performance Bonuses includes four work measures � job entry, success in the workforce, improvement in job entry and improvement in success in the work force.

TANF is a temporary public assistance program administered by the South Dakota Department of Social Services and the Department of Labor. For more information about TANF, visit the program's Web site at: www.state.sd.us/social/tanf.

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