TANF Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about the TANF program. If you cannot find the answer to your question or issue, then we suggest contacting the TANF program in your state. They should be able to assist you further.

What is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families?

All states and territories participating in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program receive federal grant monies to help families with financial aid and other support services. Some of the services provided by the state include child care support, job training, and financial assistance for employment.

What are the requirements for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families?

Applicants must reside in the state where they intend to apply and be either a US citizen or a legal and qualified alien eligible for this Program. It is required that you are either out of work or have a low or meagre income to apply. The following qualifications are also necessary: Pregnant, have a kid under 18, be under 18 and head of your family.

How long can you get TANF?

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides a short-term assistance system for families while they work toward achieving financial independence. The state of Texas, for instance, places a limit of sixty months on the number of times residents can receive cash assistance from TANF (5 years).You can find a list of states on this site and determine their individul requirements and benefits.

What is cash assistance?

You may qualify for cash aid through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program or through General Assistance if you have a low income and few resources.

How do I withdraw money from my EBT card?

And if you remember your PIN, you can use an ATM at your local bank or merchant to withdraw your cash benefits. You can also get cash out of some stores even if you don't buy anything. You can also get cash back from some merchants, a bonus.

Are immigrants Eligible for TANF?

Since 1996, federal law prohibits states from utilizing federal TANF funds to aid most people with "qualified" valid visas who have been in the US for at least five years, with few exceptions. TANF-funded services like child care, transportation, and job training are excluded from this restriction.

Even if their non-citizen immigrant parents do not or do not yet qualify for TANF benefits and services, the children of US citizens are nevertheless eligible. Fewer than half of states use state MOE funding to help recent immigrants subject to the 5-year limit. People without legal immigration status cannot receive TANF benefits from the federal or state governments.

Can I get TANF if I have a felony drug conviction?

The 1996 TANF statute imposed a lifelong ban on payments for those with drug convicted felons, but states can partially or entirely repeal the ban by enacting new laws. Some persons with drug-related felony convictions are still unable to get a job because of the restriction, which has been partially lifted in 18 states and the District of Columbia. By now, the restrictions have been lifted in full in twenty-five states.

Does TANF affect Child Support?

Participants in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program are required by federal law to allocate their rights to child support to the state. This means that the state is allowed to keep the money it collects from the non-custodial parent to reimburse both itself and the national govt for the cost of providing cash assistance.

Participants are also obligated to assist with collecting child support payments or risk having their benefits reduced or eliminated. Most states have policies known as "pass-throughs" that enable families to keep at least some of the money paid to them as child support. The amount that can be kept typically ranges from $50 to $200 per month, and most states disregard the entire amount that is passed through so that it does not impact a family's eligibility. In 2015, Colorado made history by becoming the first state to legalize the practice of disregarding all child support payments completely.

How do I use my TANF Benefits?

  • Register your EBT card online at TANF.
  • No minimum purchase is required 24 hours following EBT card registration.
  • Add goods to your cart online. Items may be SNAP-eligible, TANF-eligible, or neither.
  • At checkout, pick EBT and input your PIN.
  • Items not qualified for SNAP or TANF EBT must be paid for with another method.
  • Refund policies apply to TANF items.
  • Refunds are credited to the original card.

What are Family Caps?

Families already receiving TANF benefits and having a second child are denied extra aid under these restrictions. This is based on wrong and discriminatory ideas. According to the findings, TANF families' birth rates are unaffected by the limits. Family cap regulations were in existence in over half of states at one point; 11 states still have them in force.

How do I report welfare fraud?

If you believe you have specific, credible information that someone is committing fraud, we suggest you contact your nearest welfare agency. States must establish and enforce standards and procedures to ensure against program fraud and abuse. States may prosecute individuals or deny them further assistance if they commit fraud or willfully misrepresent their circumstances. If you are aware of specific instances of potential fraud, you may also call the HHS Inspector General's Hotline toll-free at 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477).

I have been denied benefits through TANF. What can I do?

State and local agencies are responsible for establishing the eligibility criteria and procedures that apply in their programs, not the Federal government. If you disagree with a decision regarding welfare benefits, you have the right to file an appeal. For more information about your State's appeals procedures, you may want to contact your State TANF office.

I want to get off of welfare, but cannot find a job. What can I do?

Under the TANF program, the major mission of welfare agencies is to help individuals find jobs and successfully transition from welfare to work. You can use our job search page to search for employment opportunities. In addition, you can obtain information about employment and training assistance by contacting America's Workforce Network. Its toll-free help line is 877-US-2JOBS (877-872-5627).

The toll-free help line provides workers and employers with the information they need to access public workforce services. You may wish to contact your local Department of Labor services. You can also use America's Job Bank as another source for finding a job.

Besides TANF, are there others programs to address the needs of low-income individuals?

Federal programs that help low-income individuals and families include:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Head Start
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

ACF's Office of Community Services oversees the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) Program, in which States provide grants to local nonprofit organizations that serve low-income individuals and families. You may want to contact your State Community Service Block Grant program to find a local organization that can help you.

You can also contact your local churches or charitable organizations such as the United Way, Catholic Charities, American Red Cross, Salvation Army or other non-profit organizations in your community.

My caseworker was rude. How can I file complaint?

Caseworkers should treat clients with respect and courtesy. However, we understand that this may not happen in all circumstances. If the problems with your caseworker are serious, you may want to ask whether the office has complaint forms or procedures. You also might ask to talk with his or her supervisor or to see if you can get a new worker assigned to your case.

What if my caseworker doesn't act on my application in a timely manner?

Each State should have established procedures that workers must follow in managing applications, including standards for how quickly applications are processed. When individuals apply for benefits, they should receive information about benefits, conditions of eligibility, related available services, and client rights and responsibilities. If you have a concern or complaint about these matters, you may wish to contact your State or local welfare officials.