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Temporary Assistance For Needy Families: Eligibility And Benefits

Updated : September 11th, 2020

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 https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/community-services-offices/community-services-office.

    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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    1. I had trouble getting my proof of self-employment to upload in secure file exchange and finally got it submitted by 12:06 am , 6 minutes late. What are the possibilities that they will deny it? I have received unemployment from March 2020 to some of Jan and some in Feb 2021. Most of Dec, Jan, Feb, March, & april were stopped for this proof of employment.
      Also, I see proof of Income as a 2nd issue but it is always on there. That was not on my TO DO list.
      I feel for u all on ID.ME…

      Anyone trying to reach UI, call their number, press 2 or 3 (questions abt filing a claim?) and then wait thru the message. At the end of it, u will be connected to a live person! I promise.. don’t push another button.. I’ve done it 4 times and it never failed.

      We lost our home, my ex took my child…. (kept her after a visit and called cps facilitating drama while the cops wouldn’t give her back without paperwork locked up in the court house..shut down for covid) I raised her by myself for 12 years & now she is with a violent alcoholic and parental alienating parent .. ….my dog, my 9-year sweet little best friend, was attacked, passing away 3 days later.. all in this time frame.
      But! It will all be ok. I have faith.

      Be grateful for your life and all that is in it today. What u dwell on daily will be your strength or weakness.
      Good luck to all of u.
      And thank you, Jeff, for responding out here. It is appreciated!
      Davulia S.

    2. I filed over two months ago. I have not received any information. My status says “pending resolution”. I have no way of contacting anyone. My position was eliminated at my job and I submitted the documentations online. I dont know what else I can do.

    3. I have been apply Ohio Pua unemployment since July 5th still pending issues. Upload what they ask for when ever I call says your case is in Adjudication. Very very frustrated, financially I am broke. Health issues. Waiting a long period.Don’t know what I will do ?

      1. Nafisa,

        I can understand your situation. There will be a delay considering the number of applications that are being processed. Please continue chasing the office/check your status online at regular intervals until payments normalize.

      2. Same here since Feb 2021 turned in all the documents still pending issues 3 months now. When you call they tell you to be patient. Pulling my hair out it’s so frustrating.

    4. I was receiving PUA unemployment. they made me file for a new claim in February. Now I am in adjudication even though I gave all the same information from my previous claim. Have been adjudication since February and I call and they say they will put in a ticket to have an Adjudicator call me. Nothing. I am wondering If I can go down to to Maryland Unemployment Office and demand that someone talk with me to release my claim for payment. It’s been 56 days. I read that they have a maximum of 45 days.

      1. Luis,

        Your adjudicator may be inundated with pending cases. Please continue to follow up (if you have the contact details) or consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

      2. t sounds just like mine only im disqualified yet actie every till sept 4th . they haven’t asked me for anything! i file then its disqualified yet im told im ok and have nothing to do bit wait for an answer? answer to what? they switched my program and all and asked me to provide proof for a claim that wa denied al eady back in 2018! deny me once and then again perhaps? lol idk

    5. My mom had unemployment in Florida. She just recently moved temporally to California with a sister since she needs assistance, and now the website is telling her she cannot do anything because she is register in another state. Can she keep filing unemployment in Florida, even if she is living and register now in another state? how is the process to change the unemployment? I tried calling and there is no answer. Thank you!

      1. Stephanie,

        Please ask your mother to consider transferring the UI benefits from FL to CA (details will be available on either of the websites). If there are benefits weeks left in the account, she will be able to claim them.

      1. Leatha,

        UI benefits are offered to claimants who lose employment involuntarily and be able to and available for work.

    6. I lived in ga in 2019 and move to florida in 2020 and work for the xmas months in nov-dec. I was told to do a combine wage claim. my question is which state do i file the claim in?

    7. I filed for pua in Ohio back in October 2020.My claim has been in ajudacatuon since 11/1/20.So 2 to 6 weeks is a total understatement! When I call.i am told to basically hurry up and wait some more.I have recently been redetermined and my claim is allowed.but I have one pending issue.How long is too long?

      1. Nicole,

        Unfortunately, nobody has an answer. There are perhaps thousands of pending applications. Please consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

    8. If you claim your weeks for unemployment and for the next 2 months you still have not received your money. Where can you go in volusia county to talk with a live person

        1. HI Jeff,
          I applied back in Dec 5th, 2020 and I haven’t received any correspondence, is there a local office that I can make an appt to make certain my claim is right.

          1. Adam,

            You can consider visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible (details will be available on the Unemployment Office’s website).

    9. On NYS DOL website, my claim is saying current yet the information is for my old claim with 0 days remaining despite receiving 2 weeks of payments on the new claim and I was able to certify last night. I haven’t received anything; no letters or emails.

    10. I was disqualified for UI benefits for not providing an ID and other forms of identification. How do I fix this?

          1. Gary,

            You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

      1. Hi Mike, I’m in NYS and was at the end of my BYE on 3/14, I was still certifying but wasn’t getting paid. I found out I had to file a new claim because my other was exhausted. I’m still waiting on approval. Maybe you have to file a new claim. I hope this helps.

    11. They say 2-6 weeks it’s more accurate to say 2-6 months; and when you call many of them are rude and unwilling to assist!

    12. someone needs to look into Sharon L. Anton gillette, wyo. or dickinson, nd she is a fraud and has done so many fraudulent things and please look into her

      1. Annette,

        Please report it to the Fraud Division of the Unemployment Office in your state. You can report on the website.

    13. I worked part time for thee years here in florida. I’m currently not working. I’m also retired and collects social security.
      My question is
      Am I qualified to file for unemployment ?

      1. Ruby,

        To be eligible, you’re required to have sufficient hours and earnings. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website.

    14. So adjudication takes 8 to 12 weeks. Oh okay, that explains why I havent received payment since July. That surely helps just like the rest of the information that you give. And by the way. What’s the NEW reason you can’t get through to the Call Center.

      1. Maria,
        I have gotten through to the call center (live agent) every time i’ve tried calling within the last 2 weeks. The number to a live agent (follow the prompts carefully) is (667)-207-6520. i have gotten through within 10 to 15 mins with each call i had made!

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