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Eligibility Requirements

In order to be determined eligible to receive TANF benefits, the following criteria must be met by the members of the assistance unit (family):

Up-Front Job Search: A TANF applicant must participate in and comply with job search activities or apply for vocational rehabilitation services prior to approval for TANF benefits, if otherwise eligible.

Age: A child must be less than 18 years of age.

Application for other benefits: A TANF applicant/recipient must apply for and accept other benefits (Unemployment Compensation, Workman’s Compensation, Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI), Child Support, etc.) for which you may be eligible.

Citizenship: A recipient must be a citizen of the U.S. or a lawful resident alien.

Deprivation: A child must be deprived due to:

  1. Continued absence from the home of at least one parent
  2. Physical or mental incapacity of at least one parent
  3. Death of a parent

In a two parent family in which both parents are able-bodied, deprivation is established if one parent has a “recent connection to the workforce.”

Enumeration: All assistance unit members must have or apply for a Social Security number.

School Attendance: All children ages 6 through 17 who have not graduated from high school or who have not received a certificate of high school equivalency must attend school and have satisfactory attendance.

Immunization: All preschool children must be immunized.

Income: An assistance unit’s countable, net income must be below certain established limits that are adjusted for the number of persons in the assistance unit. A family must meet the financial criteria to receive TANF. For example, a family of three (mother and two children) must have a gross income below $681 a month and countable assets of not more than $2,000.

Lifetime Limits: Receipt of cash assistance is limited to 60 months in a lifetime. The limit may be extended if it is determined that an extension is justified due to certain hardships, including physical or mental incapacity, provided the household’s income does not exceed the Basic 100 percent requirement for the TANF Program.

The 60-month lifetime limit is reduced to 24 months for TANF recipients who are determined to be work eligible and are referred to the TANF Work Program but fail, without good cause, to meet the requirements of their Employability Development Plan (EDP).

Paternity: The assistance unit/family must cooperate in the establishment of paternity. The paternity of a child must be established at application and whenever a child is added to an active case.

Child Support Requirements:  A parent or relative who applies for and accepts a TANF money payment for children due to the continued absence of a parent must assign to the state support rights for the children. The parent or relative must also assist the State in obtaining support from the absent parent, including establishing paternity for children born out-of-wedlock.

Work Requirement: All adult recipients have a work requirement, and are required to participate in work activities and training in accordance with their Employability Development Plan (EDP). These work activities help recipients gain the experience needed to find a job and become self-sufficient.

NOTE: A family receiving TANF for ten months might not receive increased cash assistance for the birth of additional children.

TANF Program

Phone: 800-948-3050


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