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.

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.