For many years the basic component of welfare in this
country was Aid to Families with Dependent Children
(AFDC), a program that had its genesis in the Social
Security Act of 1935.
Under the Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of
1996, AFDC was renamed Temporary Assistance to Needy
Under TANF, welfare is no longer an open-ended personal
entitlement--five years is the maximum that a recipient
can be paid from federal funds.
During this period, recipients must demonstrate that they
are making reasonable efforts to secure employment and
must avail themselves of job training programs.
Of course, states are free to supplement federal assistance
with their own programs, which they control entirely.