Applying For TANF Benefits

Find out how you can apply for TANF benefits. This program offers short-term assistance with the goal of helping low income families to get off of welfare and be self-sufficient by providing financial assistance and employment help.

TANF provides a monthly cash stipend that will be put on an EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) card. This card acts like a regular bank card, which then can be used to pay for things like rent, day care and purchase food.

Do I qualify for TANF?

Eligibility for TANF depends on multiple factors including income and total number of dependents in the household. Because the TANF program is state-administered, the process to apply for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits can differ from state to state.

This includes income limits, which can be higher in some states and lower in others. In all states, besides Wisconsin, the maximum earnings threshold is set below the federal poverty line. Most states do require families applying for TANF cash assistance to both meet income eligibility criteria and have assets below a certain amount.

However, in recent years a number of states, such as Alabama, Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, and Virginia, have eliminated asset tests for eligibility and base financial eligibility on income.

How do I apply for TANF?

The TANF program is administered by the Office of Family Assistance, however wach state is responsible for setting its own specific requirements for accepting and considering applications for TANF. This includes the name of the TANF program. For example, in California the TANF program is called CALWORKS.

Depending on which state you live, you may apply online or in person at the local county office. To find out the programs name, how long you can receive TANF benefits, how much cash assistance you can receive, what the TANF work requirements are and overall how to apply for TANF, select your state below.