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Block Grant

Block Grant

What Is a Block Grant?

A block grant is an annual sum of money that is granted by the federal government to a state or nearby government body to assist with funding a specific project or program. These became official in the U.S. beginning in 1966.

This form of federal assistance is frequently associated with supporting social welfare projects, like Medicaid, public housing, education, and job training.

Understanding Block Grants

Block grants have been being used in some form since the 1950s. Most have supported social services, public wellbeing services, or community development programs. Block grants were intended to give funding to those services with relatively couple of surprises, permitting nearby governments to oversee and manage the programs.

Moreover, state and nearby governments might add their own rules and will in some cases convey a portion of the grant to different organizations, which similarly have their own rules and rules with respect to how the money is utilized and for what purpose.

Block grants have fallen undesirable in recent years. A 2017 endeavor to patch up Medicaid as a block grant program failed. A number of block grant programs actually exist. One enduring model is the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which started in 1974.

Pundits of block grants refer to the relative lack of federal oversight as a problem. Eminently, the proposal to transform Medicaid into a block grant program was viewed as jeopardizing the federal government's ability to guarantee a standard level of service.

Block grants have been being used since the 1960s, however have fallen from favor a bit in recent years.

Analysis of Block Grants

While block grants are expected to advance social great by assisting states with funding important programs, some have held critical perspectives on these programs. Since the beneficiaries of block grants have a great deal of flexibility in how those dollars are really burned through, rivals contend that federal money can be abused by nearby specialists. Money received from block grants frequently can't be followed or examined similarly that downright grants (expected for a specific purpose) can, compounding these worries.

Neighborhood officials can hence be remembered to direct the funding from block grants to those networks who have the greatest political influence to curry favor and votes, while disregarding those underserved networks that the money was apparently planned for.

Defenders of block grants ordinarily contend that programs will be more effective and better fit to each state's necessities while dynamic movements to the states since nearby specialists have a more profound information on their electorates.

Instances of Block Grants

Three of the better-realized block grant programs are reserved for social services delivered at the nearby level:

The Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG)

The CDBG program, administered by the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency, says it "expects to practical urban networks by giving fair housing and a suitable living climate" with an emphasis on "low-and moderate-pay people." It has given more than $160 billion in grants through mid-2021. The grant sums are granted by a formula in view of a community's requirements, including its degree of poverty, congestion, and population growth.

Mental Health Block Grant (MHBG)

The Mental Health Block Grant, laid out in 1981, has dispensed large number of dollars to states to aid the treatment of mental diseases. The grant was amended in 1986 to expect that states foster services in view of the exhortation of Mental Health Planning Councils contained principally of family individuals and non-treating professional residents.

Social Services Block Grant Program (SSBG)

The Social Services Block Grant Program (SSBG) is a comprehensively defined program that permits states and regions to fit social service programming to the requirements of their populations. Administered by Health and Human Services, the program is expected to "diminish dependency and advance independence; safeguard children and grown-ups from neglect, abuse, and double-dealing; and help people who can't deal with themselves to remain in their homes or to track down the best institutional arrangements," as per the department's Office of Community Services.


  • Most block grants, consequently, support public housing, wellbeing, or other social services.
  • Block grants are federal funds reserved for specific state or nearby programs.
  • A block grant is supported by federal funds however administered by state or nearby governments, the idea being neighborhood specialists are better fit to handle neighborhood issues.
  • Such programs are frequently intended to further develop social welfare programs.
  • Rivals of block grants claim that they are a misuse of taxpayer dollars and are frequently squandered.


What Are the 4 Main Types of Grant Funding?

Grants are granted in one of several ways. The principal four are: 1) competitive, by which bidders submit applications in light of legitimacy or need requesting a specific sum; 2) formula, which utilizes an algorithm to designate foreordained measures of funds in view of objective need; 3) continuation funding, where prior grants are restored; and 4) pass-through funding, with federal funds passed to state specialists to be utilized for federal programs, like transportation.

Do Block Grants Increase State Power?

Since block grants give states or neighborhood specialists circumspection with how to spend if not federal funds, they really do increase the state's power to spend in like that. Advocates contend that this increases the productivity of grant funds since nearby legislators and directors will have greater information on their own area than those in Washington, D.C.

What Is the Difference Between a Block Grant and a Categorical Grant?

A block grant can be utilized for various purposes, with the distribution of funds supervised and allocated by neighborhood specialists. An unmitigated grant is granted for a solitary and specific purpose, with distributions evaluated to guarantee the expected beneficiary.