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Cash assistance from the TANF benefit program.

The federal government created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to help low income as well as needy families with children. Most of the financial aid is targeted at households that are living in poverty, or close to it. Short term financial assistance in the form of cash is available to help pay bills, and find how to apply for TANF benefits near you below..

The goal of this TANF benefit program, which is listed by state below, which some people still refer to as welfare, is to ensure a family can meet their basic household needs. For example, assistance can be provided for paying for housing, rent, energy bills, food, and health care needs such as medications.

However, just as importantly, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program will help individuals gain longer term self sufficiency. So most of the social service agencies that run TANF programs will also help people find a job, attend a wide variety of training classes, and improve their overall employment skills. No matter the need, find more information on how to apply at each state below, including the online TANF applications process.

Applicants need to keep in mind that cash assistance will only be paid out from TANF if a client is aggressively looking for a job or attending some form of training. Most states will require that recipients find some form of employment within 24 months, or the benefits may end. Find more details below on TANF benefits near you.

Type of bills paid by TANF benefits

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families provides funding for paying a wide range of expenses and household bills. The government has established requirements about participants needing to be actively looking for work and take on personal responsibility for addressing the cause of their hardship. If they do this, and meet other eligibility criteria, then all sorts of expenses can be paid including food, clothing, job commuting costs, and many others. The program also has time limits in place, so the support is temporary for low income families that are receiving cash assistance. Welfare will normally last for at most sixty months.




Many individual states will also offer other benefits to clients. This will include financial aid and social services in combination with TANF. Single parents, whether moms or dads, often benefit from the combination of cash assistance from TANF welfare payments as well as the social services. This is done as the main objective is to help low-income families with children gain self-sufficiency. Another goal is to provide other activities that promote two-parent families and resources to reduce out-of-wedlock pregnancies.

Specifically, the primary objectives include paying for certain household needs while also ending the dependency of low income parents and families for government assistance as well as any other benefits they may receive. TANF can help people find a job, increase work skills, attend job preparation, and offer other forms of financial aid. The government can provide short term cash assistance to needy families with children so that they can ideally live in their own home or the homes of relatives.

Amount of cash assistance from TANF

The amount of cash benefits offered near you that is provided depends on the state as well as your family size and circumstance. The amount is generally in the hundreds of dollars per month though for a typical family, but it does vary. Some states will also factor in the families’ shelter obligation, which would include their monthly rental expenses. However TANF benefits can pay out as much as several hundred dollars per month, and additional funds can be offered depending on family size as well as number of members of the household. A social service office will often have a calculator to determine that amount of cash paid out from TANF grants.

The program only runs for a certain amount of time. Families that receive TANF and that include an adult in the household will need to meet work participation requirements as well, or the cash assistance will end. They must participate in work related activities (including job training) or have some form of employment for a specified number of hours per week depending on the age of children as well as the number of work-eligible adults in the household.

Cash assistance will generally be limited to a lifetime total of 48-60 months as an adult. However some states may provide additional TANF assistance for child only cases, which will usually not have a time limit. The program helps low income and working poor families become self-supporting over the mid to long term while allowing children to remain in their own homes. Pregnant women may also receive help, especially if they are unable to work. Find how much cash assistance a state will pay.







Temporary Assistance for Needy Families application rules

While each state may have their own requirements, including some offer online applications, in general the following apply. Note when speaking to a social worker in your county, they may refer to it as welfare or it may be called a slightly different name. The federal government as well as states set the eligibility guidelines as to how TANF works and who can apply.

Citizenship – Applicants need to be either U.S. citizens or qualified non-citizens. It can sometimes help immigrants, depending on where the applicant lives.

Social Security Number - Individuals must be able to provide a Social Security Number for themselves and family members. Or they need to prove that they have applied for one, and they will need to have identification instead.

Child Support Cooperation - The parent or the caretaker of any children in the household will need to fully cooperate with child support enforcement to prove a legal relationship to the applying parent.

Work or Job Training - People must participate in some type of job training or work activities unless they meet an exemption which may be offered from time to time. Many state social service offices and employment centers can provide work activities. They can customize services needed to either keep a job or help a beneficiary find employment. Some clients can even get extra money from a work from home job, and that can meet TANF requirements.

Asset Limits - A family's total household, so called countable assets (savings, investment accounts, etc.) must be under a certain threshold. This may be close to the poverty level.

Self-sufficiency - Adults who apply for cash assistance from TANF will usually need to sign some type of self-sufficiency contract.

Children - Any children will need to reside with a legal guardian, parent, a legal custodian, or a specified relative. Most states require children of someone receiving TANF to be in school.

Timing - As noted, this is a temporary program. Cash is only paid out for a limited amount of months over the clients lifetime.

Apply for TANF government cash assistance near you































New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota





Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota






West Virginia


The contact information above will not only provide information on TANF application sites and phone numbers near you to call, but it covers other welfare type benefit programs too. This is the case as many low income families and people living in poverty often qualify for more than one entitlement. So there is usually a benefit for them in learning about all of the resources that are available. For more information on just receiving cash assistance, locate welfare phone numbers for each and every state.

TANF can only provide short term financial assistance for basic needs, so it is temporary. Therefore beneficiaries should never hesitate to seek other grant based financial help from charities or other local organizations. There are numerous other resources listed throughout this site, in addition to TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the poor people can avail themselves off.





The primary reason this benefit program was created by the federal government was to get people off of public aid over the mid to long term. So anyone who receives help from this program needs to commit to finding a job. Or if that can’t be done in short order, they need to attend training and really agree to strictly follow a program to get them off of TANF temporary cash assistance within 60 months. Contact a social service office or a government agency in your state to apply to learn more on how the program works as well as eligibility criteria.


By Jon McNamara

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