Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): a guide for the program
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a government program that assists needy families in the US. This guide will discuss how TANF works, who is eligible for benefits and more!
by Suzana Brito
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: Supporting low-income families with children to make ends meet
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a welfare program that assists needy families in the USA. It helps low-income families with their living expenses and basic care.
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This guide will provide an overview of the TANF program, eligibility requirements, and how to apply for benefits. Keep reading to find out.
What is the TANF welfare program and how does it work?
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides money to states and territories to help needy families with children make ends meet.
States can use this money to support people with childcare, get a job, and help people work.
The TANF is available to families with certain income and resource requirements, and the benefits are generally monthly.
The program has different names depending on the state. For example, in California, it is called CalWORKS.
The States can use federal money for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families mainly for four purposes:
- First, assist poor families by giving them conditions to care for their children in their homes or homes of relatives;
- Second, to eradicate parents’ dependence on government benefits by preparing them for jobs and marriage;
- Thirdly, educate the poor community about out-of-wedlock pregnancies to prevent them;
- Finally, to encourage and help keep marriages of two-parent.
Still, the states have the autonomy to decide what a “needy” family is for the first and second purposes.
However, they do not have limited assistance to needy families for the third and fourth ones.
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What are the advantages of receiving TANF?
The Temporary Assistance for Needy aims to provide financial help to low-income families.
So, families enrolled will get help to pay for basic needs such as rent, utilities, food, and clothing.
Also, afford other expenses such as child care and transportation.
TANF can still help families get back on their feet after an emergency or life-changing event.
That’s because they may also have access to the following programs depending on the State:
- The TANF employment program- provides coaching to help parents achieve their educational and work goals;
- Also, it helps them guide their children for the whole family to succeed;
- Tuition Assistance Program Initiative for TANF (TAPIT) – provides monetary assistance to professional certification and/or post-secondary educational programs;
- Child Care Subsidy- helps parents to enroll their children in good childcare, considering before and aftercare. This subsidy can help cover the cost of child care so that parents can focus on work or school.
- Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) – customers are connected to DBH for mental health, behavioral health, and substance abuse counseling through various support options for parents and their children.
So, TANF can be a lifesaver for families struggling to make ends meet and help them stay afloat during tough economic times.
How long can you receive the program’s benefits in your state?
The States have the autonomy to set some rules on what they understand by needy families. On the other hand, they can’t impose a time limit for funds.
So, all states must follow the standard policy for the time limits of the benefits.
Generally, families with adult recipients enrolled in the TANF program may receive funds for no longer than 60 months.
However, the states can exceed the limit for up to 20% of families based on their poverty level.
On the other hand, for eligible families with a child, federal laws don’t impose a time limit for receiving assistance from TANF.
Exceptions may be applied depending on the State you live in. So make sure you read the local terms for TANF to get informed.
And if you still have questions, contact the local TANF office or call them.
Who is eligible for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families?
To be eligible for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, applicants must fill some requirements.
First, you must reside in the applying state and be a U.S citizen, legal or qualified alien. In addition, you must have a low income and be unemployed or underemployed.
Third, to be eligible for the benefit, you:
- must be 18 years old or younger and head of the household;
- must have a child who is 18 years old or younger;
- must be pregnant.
If you are unsure that you meet the requirements, you can visit Benefit.gov and make a simulation of your situation to see if you’re eligible.
The website will analyze your data based on your income, employment status, and household information.
Then provide a quick response to see if you fit the terms and can be approved for the benefit.
How do you apply for TANF benefits in your state?
To apply for TANF in your state, you can visit the benefit.com website and find a list of states’ centers.
There you’ll find the State’s office addresses and their respective phone numbers and emails so you can reach them.
Depending on the State, for example, in Illinois, you can apply in 3 steps:
First, fill out an application (online or print the form) requesting Cash Assistance from TANF. Second, you have to submit your application.
You can do that in person by visiting the closest Family Community Resource Center (FCRC), faxing your application to FCRC, or applying online.
Third, you’ll have to go to an interview at the Family Community Resource Center. Then sign your application, answer some questions, and present proof of income and family size.
After that, you’ll receive your decision within 45 days. If you disagree with the results, you can appeal it.
In conclusion, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families can benefit a lot of people who are in need. If you feel like you may be eligible for it, please don’t hesitate to apply.
It can make all the difference in your family life, helping you to make ends meet and get qualified to build the life you deserve on your own. Thanks for reading!
Moreover, if you want to keep learning about government programs that can benefit you and your family, check out our post below about the Supplemental Security Income (SSI)!
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
If you're caring for someone who has a disability or can't work because of medical issues, read this post. You’ll learn about SSI eligibility and benefits!
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