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Temporary Assistance For Needy Families: Eligibility And Benefits

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a program that provides temporary financial assistance to low-income families. The benefits can be used to pay food, medical, shelter, and utilities bills. TANF is also known as the Temporary Assistance (TA) program. 

Under the TANF program, the federal government provides grants to states provided states use their own income to pay for needy families

States have the discretion to determine the eligibility for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Here, let’s have a look at the eligibility criteria and working of the TANF program. 

Eligibility Criteria For Temporary Assistance For Needy Families

The requirements to qualify for the TANF program may vary with the states. Some of the common requirements are listed below.

  1. The applicant must be a U.S. citizen.
  2. The applicant must be a resident of a state in which the individual is applying for TANF program.
  3. If the claimant is a non-citizen, he/she must be admitted by law as a permanent resident.
  4. The applicant must have a child under age 19 living with him/her or must be pregnant.
  5. The applicant or his/her family members must have Social Security Number.
  6. The claimant must be unemployed or about to be unemployed.
  7. Claimant should actively look for a job or participate in a training program unless disabled.
  8. If the applicant has a dependent child, he/she must cooperate with child support requirements and paternity, unless he/she has a good cause for not cooperating.
  9. Claimant has a child under age 18 or age 18 living him/her and is a full-time student.
  10. Claimant’s resources such as bank accounts, property or bonds or property that is not your main/primary residence are of a value of $1,000 or less.
  11. The applicant must provide care and support for a child as a result of one of the following events:
    • Death of the child’s parent
    • Child’s parents do not have any income

    TANF Training Requirements

    If approved for TANF, the recipients are required to take part in employment and training programs conducted by the respective states. However, under certain circumstances, the recipients can exempt themselves from participating in the training activities. For instance, 

    • The recipient has a child aged less than 12 weeks.
    • The recipient is 60 years old and above.
    • The recipient is permanently disabled.
    • The recipient is giving care to the disabled.
    • There is a domestic violence situation and participating in employment and training activities would cause physical or emotional harm to the recipient or the children in the household.

    Recipients who do not meet exemption criteria must participate in employment and training activities for the minimum hours per federal month as required by the state. If the recipient does not participate in the training activities, the Temporary Assistance payment will be reduced.

    How Are Benefits Calculated?

    The payment is calculated based on several factors, such as the expenses associated with child care, the size of your household, etc. Here’s a list of amounts paid by each state for a family of three through a single payment.

    States Amount ($)/Month
    Alabama 215
    Alaska 923
    Arizona 278
    Arkansas 204
    California 785
    Colorado 508
    Connecticut 698
    Delaware 338
    D.C. 642
    Florida 303
    Georgia 280
    Hawaii 610
    Idaho 309
    Illinois 520
    Indiana 288
    Iowa 426
    Kansas 429
    Kentucky 262
    Louisiana 240
    Maine 594
    Maryland 709
    Massachusetts 633
    Michigan 492
    Minnesota 532
    Mississippi 170
    Missouri 292
    Montana 588
    Nebraska 468
    Nevada 386
    New Hampshire 1066
    New Jersey  559
    New Mexico 447
    New York 789
    North Carolina 272
    North Dakota 486
    Ohio 497
    Oklahoma 292
    Oregon 506
    Pennsylvania 421
    Rhode Island 554
    South Carolina 292
    South Dakota 615
    Tennessee 277
    Texas 295
    Utah 498
    Vermont 640
    Virginia 442
    Washington 569
    West Virginia 340
    Wisconsin 653
    Wyoming 697

    When Can The Applicant Expect The Benefits?

    If the application is approved, the applicant can expect the payment within 45 days of the submission of the application. The amount will be paid through Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Card or directly deposited to the bank account.

    How Long Can A Claimant Receive The Benefits?

    An applicant can collect TANF for a maximum of 60 months or 5 years over the course of his/her lifetime.

    How To Apply For TANF?

    You can apply for TANF benefits either online or at a local community service office. For instance, individuals at Washington can apply at

    Closing Thoughts

    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families offers much required financial aid and helps qualified people to meet their basic needs. To know more about this program, visit the state’s TANF website. 

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