|About the Book|
The Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) is a flexible source of funds that states use to support a wide variety of social services activities. States have broad discretion over the use of these funds. In FY2009, the most recent year for whichMoreThe Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) is a flexible source of funds that states use to support a wide variety of social services activities. States have broad discretion over the use of these funds. In FY2009, the most recent year for which expenditure data are available, the largest expenditures for services under the SSBG were for child care, foster care, and special services for the disabled. The FY2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2055, P.L. 112-74) provided $1.7 billion for the SSBG in FY2012, the same level of funding as had been requested in the FY2012 Presidents Budget. This is also the same level of annually appropriated funding that the SSBG has received in every year since FY2002. Since FY2001, annual appropriations for the SSBG have included a provision stipulating that states may transfer up to 10% of their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grants to the SSBG. In addition to funding from annual appropriations, the SSBG received supplemental appropriations in FY2006 and FY2009 for necessary expenses resulting from natural disasters. The FY2013 Presidents Budget, released by the Obama Administration in February 2012, proposed to maintain annual SSBG funding at $1.7 billion. FY2013 appropriations have yet to be enacted, but both the Senate Appropriations Committee-reported bill (S. 3295, S.Rept. 112-176) and the draft bill approved by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies would maintain level funding for the SSBG. By contrast, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012 (H.R. 5652) includes a provision that, if enacted, would repeal the SSBG, effective October 1, 2012. This budget reconciliation bill was agreed to in the House on May 10, 2012, by a vote of 218-199. However, the Senate has not taken up the measure. The House Budget Committee report accompanying the reconciliation bill (H.Rept. 112-470) calls the SSBG a duplicative funding stream that lacks focus and accountability. Those with dissenting views argue that the block grants flexibility allows states to address the needs of vulnerable populations and respond to local concerns. Prior to the introduction of the reconciliation bill, the House Budget Committee report (H.Rept. 112-421) accompanying the House-passed concurrent resolution on the FY2013 budget (i.e., the House budget resolution for FY2013, H.Con.Res. 112) had included a recommendation that the SSBG be eliminated in FY2013. Under current law, the SSBG is permanently authorized in Title XX of the Social Security Act (SSA). The 111th Congress amended Title XX of the SSA in the health care reform legislation signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA- P.L. 111-148). This law inserted a new subtitle on elder justice into Title XX, which was itself re-titled as Block Grants to States for Social Services and Elder Justice. The health reform law also amended Title XX by establishing two demonstration projects to address the workforce needs of health care professionals and a new competitive grant program to support the early detection of medical conditions related to environmental health hazards. The purpose of this report is to provide background and funding information about the SSBG- the report does not provide detailed information on other programs authorized within Title XX of the SSA.