Budget 101: Block Grants, Flexibility, and Per Capita Caps

February 20, 2017

Recent congressional budget proposals and plans to reduce poverty include options for changing the structure of current social programs from “entitlements,” which provide sufficient funding to address the needs of everyone who meets the eligibility requirements to “block grants,” which provide lump sums to states to meet residents’ needs only until the money runs out. 

What is a block grant?

  • A block grant is a fixed amount of funding allocated by the federal government to state and local governments to address a general problem.
  • Block grant funding for each state is usually distributed according to a formula that is often based on current levels of state spending.
  • States usually have great latitude as to how to spend the allocated funds, often with little oversight from the federal government.
  • Block grant funding does not increase when need rises or decrease when need falls.

Tools
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For Advocacy

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  • The State of Black Poverty: A Pan-African Millennial Perspective on Ending Hunger by 2030

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