Division of Economic Assistance
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
What is TANF?
The TANF program, administered by the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS), provides assistance for needy families with children up to age 18 years without regard to race, creed, color, gender, age, disability or national origin. Monthly TANF money payments are made for children and their needy caretaker relatives who do not have enough income or resources to meet their everyday needs by state program standards.
What time limits are imposed for TANF benefits
An eligible family that includes an adult in the TANF assistance unit may receive TANF for no more than 60 months lifetime benefits unless they meet certain exceptions. Also, no benefits will be paid if the TANF parent or needy caretaker relative is not participating in an approved work activity after being determined "work ready", or no longer than 24 months (within the 60 month lifetime maximum), whether or not consecutive, after receiving benefits, whichever comes first.
How is eligibility determined for a TANF family?
When an application is received, a worker will conduct an investigation to see whether the family is eligible according to all TANF eligibility factors. The parent or caretaker relative will receive a notice by mail within 30 days telling whether the family is approved for a TANF money payment, the amount, start date, etc.
Factors involved in determining whether the family can be eligible for TANF include:
How much will the TANF payment be?
The amount of the TANF payment is based on the family's income. When the income does not meet the TANF Program Need Standard, the family may be approved for a money payment up to the State maximum for that household size. Monthly payments in Mississippi are limited to no more than:
What about work requirements for TANF?
All adults in the TANF household must participate satisfactorily in the TANF Work Program (TWP) unless they meet a work exemptions, i.e., incapacity, age 60 or above, parent caring for a disabled household member, third trimester pregnancy with complications, caring for a child under 12 months old, treatment for substance abuse, and victims of domestic violence. The TANF Work Program serves all TANF adults who must participate or who volunteer in order to receive assistance in finding and keeping a job. Support services are available.
For information on the TANF Work Program and the services offered:
For information on available job services, go to www.mdes.ms.gov.
What happens when a person's TANF case is closed?
The TANF family, participating in the TANF Work Program, may continue to receive benefits for a period of up to 12 months once the case is closed because of increased earnings. These benefits include child care through the Transitional Child Care (TCC) program, transitional transportation services and job retention bonus payments when needed to continue employment.
What is the penalty for the fraudulent receipt/misuse of TANF benefits?
If a TANF payee does not report changes and is found guilty of fraud, the State penalty is imprisonment and a fine of not less than $1,000 or more than $10,000 or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year and a fine of not less than $100 or more than $1,000. A person may be prosecuted in federal court and be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. Also, the person will have to pay back benefits fraudulently claimed. If a TANF payee accesses TANF funds from an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Point-of-Sale (POS) device located in a liquor store, gambling establishment or strip club, their TANF benefits will be reduced by 50% for each month in which misuse occurred.
TANF Work Program (information from MDHS-EA-358 form)
TANF - The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-193) replaced the AFDC and JOBS Programs with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) which includes the TANF Work Program (TWP).
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, administered by the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS), provides benefits for needy families with children under age 18 without regard to race, creed, or national origin. Monthly TANF benefits are made for eligible children and their needy caretaker relatives who do not have enough income or resources to meet their everyday needs.
TANF GOAL - The goal of TANF is to end the dependence on public assistance by preparing you for a job by helping you with job readiness training, job skills training, vocational training, other educational training programs and assisting you in finding and keeping a job.
TANF TIME LIMITS -
EXEMPTIONS - You may be eligible for an exemption from the 24-month time limit for the following reasons:
REMEMBER THERE ARE TIME LIMITS ON RECEIVING PUBLIC ASSISTANCE. IN ORDER TO SUPPORT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY, YOU MUST BECOME SELF-SUFFICIENT THROUGH EMPLOYMENT. IT IS YOUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ALL TANF WORK PROGRAM SERVICES AVAILABLE TO HELP YOU FIND AND KEEP A JOB BEFORE YOUR 24 AND/OR 60-MONTH TIME LIMITS RUN OUT. YOU ARE ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR ATTITUDE AND ACTIONS TO HELP YOUR FAMILY BECOME SELF-SUFFICIENT.
TANF WORK PROGRAM - All adult recipients included in TANF grants who are not exempt are required to participate in the TANF Work Program. Failure to cooperate without good cause will result in closure of your TANF case and a SNAP penalty. The TANF Work Program will provide orientation about work program requirements, assess your skills and abilities to get and keep a job, assist you in determining your employment goal and develop an Employability Development Plan (EDP) that may give you a chance to learn new skills and receive training so you and your family can become self-sufficient. The TANF Work Program will help you make decisions and solve problems, remove participation barriers and provide supportive services, if needed, while you participate.
TANF WORK PROGRAM STAFF -
TANF WORK ACTIVITIES - While cooperating with the TANF Work Program and meeting the requirements of your work plan (EDP), you will continue to receive your TANF benefits.
You must work with your Case Manager to determine your employment goal for moving you and your family to self-sufficiency. You and your Case Manager will develop a work plan (EDP) to help you reach your employment goal as quickly as possible. You must participate in one or more of the following TANF work activities:
All of the above activities have certain requirements and restrictions that apply for the TANF Work Program. Check with your Case Manager about participation requirements.
TANF TOTAL EARNED INCOME DISREGARDS - TANF recipients who find full-time employment of 35 hours per week and earn at or above the federal minimum wage can have the earned income received from this employment totally disregarded from the TANF budget for up to six (6) months. This will allow you to receive both your TANF benefits and your paycheck, when you find the full-time employment:
Also, if you do not qualify for the 6-month total earned income disregard, you may be eligible for a 3-month total earned income disregard if your TANF case is subject to closure because of increased earnings and you are employed at least 25 hours per week at or above the federal minimum wage.
If you choose to receive TANF benefits using the total earnings disregards while employed, you will be using months toward your 60-month lifetime maximum benefit limit. Contact your Case Manager about qualifications for the Six and Three-Month TANF Total Earned Income Disregards.
Marriage Disregard - To encourage marriage and two parent families for first time marriages after October 1, 1999, we will:
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS - While you are working you may be entitled to Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a federal tax benefit for working families that have at least one child living at home.
Families who stop receiving TANF benefits because of increased earned income may be eligible for transitional child care and job retention bonus payments. Bonus payments will be made to individuals who work an average of 30 hours or more per week and earn at or above the federal minimum wage and keep their jobs for a certain period of time. Ask your Case Manager about job retention bonuses. You may also be eligible for case management services and transitional transportation.
SANCTIONS - If you are disqualified for failure to participate in the TANF Work Program, you will receive a full benefit sanction. A full sanction means that your TANF case will be closed. Your SNAP case will also close if you do not meet a SNAP work exemption. If you fail without good cause to participate satisfactorily, the following penalty will be applied:
FAIR HEARINGS - If you disagree with a TWP decision, you have 10 days from the date of your notice of closure or benefit change to request a fair hearing and continued benefits. Ask your Case Manager if you have any questions about your rights and responsibilities in the TANF Work Program.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE TANF WORK PROGRAM, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES.
TANF Work Program Services (Form MDHS-EA-358A)
The purpose of this pamphlet or form is to provide TANF Work Program Participants and other persons who are interested in the program, with a written explanation of the supportive services available to them.
The worker will provide this pamphlet or form to all TANF participants. It may also be provided to any individual upon request.
The information on TANF Work Program Services is available in Portable Document Format (PDF) only. Viewing the PDF file requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Mississippi Department of Human Services
Division of Economic Assistance
1-800-948-3050 | (601) 359-4419