Filing a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Application – also known as a TANF Benefits Application – is the first step in applying for a program that helps families with children when the parents, legal guardians, or other responsible relatives are unable to provide for the basic needs of their family – food, housing, utilities, and expenses other than medical.
TANF Application Forms by State
Each state and county decides which benefits it will provide to families that require financial assistance and other support services like work assistance, child care assistance, and job preparation. States have the right to broad flexibility in carrying out their programs – they decide the type and amount of payments, the range of other services, and the eligibility rules for applicants. The specific eligibility criteria differ from state to state – you need to know which requirements to meet to obtain financial assistance payments and other types of services and benefits.
|Alabama||Hawaii||Massachusetts (e-filing only)||New Mexico (e-filing only)||South Dakota|
|Arizona||Illinois||Minnesota||North Carolina (apply at a local DSS office)||Texas|
|Arkansas (by phone only)||Indiana (e-filing only)||Mississippi||North Dakota||Utah|
|California (e-filing only)||Iowa (apply at a local DHS office)||Missouri||Ohio||Vermont|
|Colorado||Kansas||Montana (e-filing only)||Oklahoma||Virginia|
|Connecticut||Kentucky||Nebraska (e-filing only)||Oregon||Washington|
|Florida (e-filing only)||Maine||New Hampshire||Rhode Island||Wisconsin|
|Georgia||Maryland (apply at a local DHR office)||New Jersey (e-filing only)||South Carolina||Wyoming|
What Is the Purpose of the TANF Program?
The purpose of the government-funded TANF program is to provide assistance to families in need so that the children are cared for in their own homes, promote job preparation and employment, reduce and prevent the dependency of parents on government benefits, and encourage the maintenance of families by emphasizing personal responsibility. In most cases, the TANF benefits are available for a maximum of five years.
General eligibility requirements for the TANF program are as follows:
- You are pregnant or have a child under age 19 who lives with you;
- If your child is 18, they must be a full-time student who graduates from high school before 19;
- You are a U.S. citizen or an eligible immigrant;
- You are prepared to develop a plan to become self-sufficient and are ready to follow it.
What Does TANF Provide?
When you complete a TANF Application Form, you request the following services:
- Temporary cash assistance for basic needs – food, housing, clothing, etc.;
- Transitional services that help families become financially independent – GED preparation, postsecondary education, English classes, job readiness training, job retention services, help with child care, and transportation;
- Screening for issues related to mental health and substance abuse and referrals to services that can help address them.
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