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Cash assistance from TANF.

Find how and where to apply for the TANF benefit program, which provides low-income families and the poor with temporary cash assistance. This program is available in all states, though the name may vary based.. Learn more on how to get government TANF benefits near you. The goal is to offer as well as the requirements and application process.

The federal government created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to help low income households as well as the working poor with children. Most of the cash assistance is targeted at households that are living in poverty, or close to it, including single mom or dad run homes. Short term financial assistance from the TANF benefit in the form of cash is available to help pay bills. The government funds are combined with other public assistance, including job programs, food stamps, daycare and more.

What is TANF?

It is government funded, short term cash assistance program. Note TANF is can be called different names in different states, but all state government offers their residents temporary cash assistance, with some people able to get emergency help.

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, financial assistance can be provided for paying for housing, rent, energy bills, food, gas for job training or employment, 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 as well as human service agencies that run TANF programs will also help people find a job, attend a wide variety of training classes, apply for SNAP food stamps and improve their overall employment skills. No matter the need, find more information on how to apply for TANF near you in 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. Even single moms or parent run homes, or people with a short term disability, need to be in some form of job program.




Type of bills paid by TANF benefits

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families provides funding to help pay 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, gas for work, 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. In general, TANF benefits lasts 60 months.

Many individual states will also offer other government benefits to families, in addition to emergency cash. This will include grant money 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.

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 pay bills that help people find a job, increase work skills, attend job preparation, and more. The government can provide short term cash assistance to low-income or working poor families with children so that they can ideally live in their own home or the homes of relatives.

Amount of cash assistance

The amount of cash benefits offered near you that is provided depends on the state as well as your family size, household income and circumstances. 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. A social service office near you will often have a calculator to determine that amount of cash paid out from TANF grants.

The government cash assistance 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. 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 for TANF, 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.

  • 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, including single parents, 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.

Cash assistance from TANF benefitsSelf-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

The contact information below will not only provide information on TANF application sites and phone numbers near you to call, but it covers other public benefit programs too, including food stamps, Medicaid, housing and more. This is the case as many low income families and people living in poverty often qualify for more than one entitlement.

Alabama - Family Assistance Program

Arizona - TANF Cash assistance)

Arkansas - TANF

California - CALWORKS (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids)

Colorado - Colorado Works

Connecticut - Temporary Family Assistance

Delaware - TANF

Florida - Florida Temporary Cash Assistance

Georgia - TANF

Hawaii - TANF

Idaho - Temporary Assistance for Families in Idaho

Illinois - TANF

Indiana - TANF, cash assistance

Iowa - FIP (Family Investment Program)

Kansas - Kansas Works - Department for Children and Families 

Kentucky - K-TAP (Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program)

Louisiana - FITAP (Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program), cash assistance

Maine - TANF,

Maryland - Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA)

Massachusetts - TAFDC (Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children), cash assistance as well as ESP (Employment Services Program)

Michigan - Cash Assistance and FIP (Family Independence Program)

Minnesota - MFIP (Minnesota Family Investment Program)

Mississippi - TANF

Missouri - Missouri Temporary Assistance (TA)

Nebraska - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Visit  (Aid to Dependent Children)

Nevada - TANF

New Hampshire - Financial Assistance to Needy Families

New Jersey - WORK First

New Mexico - TANF

New York - Temporary Assistance

North Carolina - Work First

North Dakota - TANF

Ohio - Work First

Oklahoma - TANF

Oregon - TANF

Pennsylvania - TANF

Rhode Island - Rhode Island Works

South Carolina - TANF/Family Independence (FI)

South Dakota - TANF

Tennessee - Families First

Texas - TANF

Vermont - Reach Up in Vermont Visit

Virginia - TANF and Emergency Assistance (EA)

Washington - TANF and WorkFirst Program

West Virginia - West Virginia Works

Wisconsin - Wisconsin Works (W-2) Program

The states names of TANF, and information on apply, is above. All states have various payment amounts aod requirements. Both online, telephone, and in personal applications are processed. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has information as well from the Children and Families department. Anyone person with a very-low household income can apply. For more information on just receiving cash assistance, locate welfare phone numbers for each and every state.


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By Jon McNamara














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