Applying for the TANF Welfare Program

A large portion of people take on extra jobs (assuming they have not been laid off), sacrifice their education, or go to other great lengths to be able to simply bring home enough food to put on the table, clothes to put on children’s backs, and a roof over their heads.

Thankfully, there is a government sponsored welfare program aimed at needy families, called TANF, that can help certain households get through rough times and assist in putting them on the track to a better future.

What is TANF?

TANF stands for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. It is a program run by the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families. This federal body provides grants to each state, with amounts determined by economic and demographic data pertinent to each, who in turn hand out the benefits to eligible citizens. Hence, when applying for a TANF welfare check, you will actually be checking with your state government, and not the federal government, since they do not deal with giving the funds to individual recipients.

The point that TANF is supposed to serve is to give assistance to families in need and also to help find work opportunities for these people. The program is time-limited, though there are extensions of benefits for people in certain circumstances. More broadly, the program tries to promote strong families with two parents, to prevent children being born out of wedlock, and assuring the proper upbringing of children, with education as an unsacrificeable priority.

How to Get TANF

Becoming a recipient of this welfare program is not all that complicated, but you will have to go through a thorough screening process to ensure that you are eligible. In most states, you simply need to get in touch with the Human or Social Services office of your state government to get things started.
Visit the following website, hosted by the US Department of Health and Human Services, which lists state offices that work with handing out TANF and other welfare program payments.

Qualifying for TANF

Eligibility requirements vary from state to state, but a general requirement is that a family qualifying for TANF must have at least one parent and one child, with an income below a pre-determined level. The more children there are in the family, the higher the qualifying income level is. In most states, pregnant women towards the end of their pregnancy are also eligible.As the aim of TANF is to get families on their feet and able to support their children, the adults receiving TANF funding must agree to participate in work programs or education that will provide them with a career.
Parents will be expected to participate in the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP), which may require keeping kids in school, following immunization policies, etc.

There are income requirements (set by each state) that will decide whether or not you qualify to receive TANF payments (i.e. whether you are needy enough). You will need to check with the human or social services office in your state to get information on that subject. (directory link listed above)

Throughout the nation, TANF is restricted to a 60 month period for any one person throughout their lifetime; these 60 months do not necessarily have to be continuous, as a person (or family) may enter and leave periods of financial duress over the years.

There are some exceptions to the 60 month limitation, and these are defined by each state. The exceptions generally have to do with being mentally ill, terminally physically ill, being the main provider of care for a dependent mentally or physically ill family member, or other circumstances that may incur significant costs for a person (always as long as their income does not exceed a certain level).

How Much do TANF Recipients Receive?

Again, each state determines, partly based on federal guidelines, and partly determined by state prerogative, how much each recipients check will be worth. There are formulas that each state puts into place to make this process unbiased and objective, which generally involves determining your income, compensating for your particular expenses, and dividing by a certain factor.

Typically, a person earning an income of $1,500 to $2,000 per month—a level of income that would generally make a person with children or other dependents eligible for TANF—could expect to get a check for somewhere between $350 and $450 per month. Again, states determine these quantities, so be sure to go over this aspect of the program not only with an employee of your state government, but furthermore with a lawyer specializing in the field of welfare programs.

Getting TANF

Though you can go to your state government’s Social or Human Services department for assistance in getting TANF payments, there are often local community agencies that distribute this welfare program.

  • You can find out if you have such an agency in your surrounding area by calling your state office for more information.  You can find a list of phone numbers by state on this website:
  • If there is no such agency in your area, then finding the nearest offices of your state’s social services department will be a good idea.
  • Receiving your TANF benefits will require you to reapply on a rolling basis, since the idea is not to keep any family on TANF that no longer finds themselves in a desperate financial condition.

Of course, the program involves more than just checks for money. It also includes Vocational Rehabilitation services and academic programs; visit Querycat for a more detailed look at these particular aspects of the TANF welfare program, and go to its main site at ACF/HHS.

A Brighter Future

In the end, this crucial welfare program is helping American families across the nation get through hard times, both now in the middle of a financial crisis, and also more generally in the good times as well as the bad. The result is clearly higher student retention rates at our nation’s elementary and high school institutions, which means a brighter future for the country. So do not hesitate, call today or go on the web and find out if you, someone that is in a time of need, qualify for this excellent program, and help keep yourself and your loved ones above the circumstances that could lead to a negative development over time, both mentally and physically.

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