Supporting Families in Need with the TANF Program

( – Unfortunately, nearly 37 million Americans live below the poverty line. The government has been at the head of the movement to reduce poverty levels and helps to improve the lives of American citizens. To do so, they created several government assistance programs.

One of the most prominent programs is the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The TANF program, created in 1996, provides financial assistance to low-income households that meet the eligibility requirements for the program.

This program aims to support financially struggling parents. This includes single mothers and fathers, married parents, and even grandparents. Additionally, TANF funding does not mean you can’t apply for other assistance programs like food stamps, Medicaid, housing subsidies, and child care services.

What is the Purpose of TANF?

Congress established the TANF program to provide financial support to low-income families and individuals. These funds are issued to states through block grants. States can then use these funds to assist eligible applicants in meeting their basic financial needs. Additionally, these funds can be used to fund welfare programs for education, job training, childcare, and health care.

Who Qualifies for TANF?

Children and Adults who meet specific requirements can apply for the TANF program. These include:


  • Are U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • Live in the state they apply in
  • Are underemployed or unemployed
  • Have a child under 18
  • Are pregnant


  • Are pregnant or have given birth in the last 12 months
  • Have at least one parent who is mentally or physically incapacitated
  • As experienced the death of a parent or close family member.
  • Has lived separately from both biological parents for over six months.

Some acts can immediately disqualify you from the TANF program. They include:

  • If you are a convicted felon
  • Have violated your parole or probation
  • Have lied in your application
  • Have refused to work
  • Have received TANF funds for over five years

Additionally, you may not be eligible for TANF if you are:

  • Over 60
  • Are a veteran receiving disability payments from the VA
  • Are already receiving Social Security Disability Payments or Supplemental Security Income.

TANF program Benefits

TANF offers three primary programs to needy families. They are:

1. Temporary Financial Assistance

This program provides funding to help cover basic needs such as food, shelter, utilities, medical costs, transportation, and other emergency expenses.

2. Transitional Assistance

TANF is primarily a temporary program that aims to help families get back on their feet. Therefore, it provides transitional assistance such as vocational training, rehab, post-secondary education, GED preparation, and more!

3. Support with Serious Issues

The TANF program aims to support people facing serious problems such as mental illness, domestic violence, drug abuse, and homelessness.

How Can I Apply for TANF?

You can apply for TANF online, by phone, or via your local office. Read on to learn more.

Applying Online

If you would like to apply online, visit the Department of Human Services website and follow these simple steps.

  • Visit the official site of the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Click on Apply Now
  • Enter your information in the provided fields
  • Review your answers and submit your application

Applying By Phone

If you prefer to apply over the phone, you can do that by calling your DHS directly. The numbers for your state department should be listed on the DHS website.

Apply At Your Local Office

You can apply in person at your local community service office. You apply by printing and filling out the application information from your state. You can then either mail in your application or submit it in person.

Bottom Line

We hope this brief guide has helped you learn more about applying for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Here are the key takeaways:

TANF offers temporary financial assistance for low-income households.

The program offers cash assistance which can help you afford food, utilities, health care, and housing. The program provides transitional assistance for families. This can include assisting survivors of domestic violence.

To qualify, families must meet the income requirements.

Applying is easy, just go online, call, or apply in person.

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