Apply For Arkansas TANF Benefits

Learn how to apply for Arkansas TANF. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, called Arkansas Transitional Employment Assistance (TEA), may help you become self-supportive while receiving monthly cash benefits to meet your everyday needs such as rent, utilities, clothes, transportation, or additional expenses.

Sometimes you may not be eligible to receive TANF for yourself, but a child or children in your household may. The TANF program is administered by the Department of Workforce Services. In most cases, in order to qualify for TANF you must meet both types of eligibility, categorical and financial.

Additionally, to qualify for TANF there are work requirements. The AR TANF program requires most adults be employed or participate in certain work-related activities, which you will be assigned for a certain number of hours on a weekly basis in order to continue receiving TANF benefits.

The total number of hours needed to fulfill your work activity requirement depends on your family composition. Qualified state residents are required to produce information including household income, age, citizenship and resources.

Only household members who are eligible for Arkansas TANF can receive welfare benefits. For more information about applying for AR TANF benefits, view the information below. If you still have questions or issues, then contact TANF Arkansas.

The Transitional Employment Assistance (TEA) program helps families with children under the age of 18 financially. It helps them become less dependent on public welfare and more responsible for their own support. The TEA program provides monthly cash assistance to eligible families to help meet the family's basic needs.

TEA also provides supportive services such as child care assistance and employment related services while the parent or other adult relative works toward increasing his or her earning potential. State law limits TEA benefits to 24-month lifetime limit.

Arkansas TEA eligibility

A person applying for Arkansas TANF benefits must meet all of these requirements:

  • Be a resident of the state of Arkansas
  • Be a US citizen, national, legal alien or permanent resident
  • Qualify as a low-income family
  • Be responsible for a child under the age of eighteen

Apply for Arkansas TANF benefits

To see if you qualify for TEA you will need to obtain an application from your local Department of Human Services County office, or you can click here to download the application. They will provide assistance with completing the form, if needed, and will schedule and conduct a face-to-face interview to determine further eligibility. You can also apply online instead by going to

Documentation needed to apply for TEA

Below is a list of documents you will need to provide when applying for Arkansas TANF:

  • Proof of identity and age (driver's license, birth certificate, voter registration)
  • Social Security numbers for all members to be included in your TEA family/unit or proof that you have applied for them
  • Proof that your children are related to you and proof of their ages (birth certificates, school records, medical records)
  • If you are a single parent, proof that the other parent of your children is deceased or not living with you (divorce records, death certificate, sworn statement)
  • Proof of immigration status, if you are not a US citizen
  • Proof of income (pay stubs, government checks)
  • Proof that you are not eligible for unemployment compensation
  • Proof of housing expenses (rent receipts, mortgage)
  • Proof of address (landlord's statement, utility records)
  • Proof of immunization for all pre-school age children
  • Other documents, as needed. These will be identified to you by your case worker

Once all needed documents have been received, applications are processed no later than 30 calendar days from the date the application was filed in the county office. A family who meets all TEA eligibility requirements may receive cash assistance benefits for a period of up to 24 total months.

The months counted are based on receipt of benefits by the adult recipient or head of household minor parent. Other requirements include compliance with the Office of Child Support Enforcement, keeping your child up-to-date with immunizations, and other requirements that your case manager will discuss with you.

How much money will I receive?

The amount of money you will receive each month is based on family size. The maximum payment a family may receive is the payment level for the particular family size. All eligible TEA family members will be included in the family size for payment, except a child who is not eligible for payment due to the family cap provision.

Signing a Personal Responsibility Agreement

The Personal Responsibility Agreement (PRA) is an agreement that provides the responsibilities that the applicant must comply with while receiving cash assistance. It is reviewed with the applicant and/or accompanying adult during the interview. The responsibilities include:

  • Cooperation with the Office of Child Support Enforcement
  • Ensuring school age children are in school
  • Ensuring that pre-school children receive appropriate immunizations
  • Participation in work requirements, if applicable
Can I quality for TEA if unemployed?

You do not have to be employed to be eligible for TEA assistance. Upon approval, all able-bodied adult family members are required to work or participate in work activities designed to lead to employment. All minor parents are required to participate in educational activities. Exceptions require an agency-approved exemption or deferral.

Arkansas TANF work requirements

The TEA program requires participants to search for and obtain paid employment. Individuals who cannot find immediate paid employment can participate in approved activities that focus on development of skills and experience that lead directly to employment.

If I am eligible, how will I get my benefits?

If you participate in the TEA Program, you will receive an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card that looks similar to a debit card. Your EBT card will be used to access your TEA benefits.

TEA for minor parents

The TEA program is focused on helping young parents complete their education, attain their goals and secure employment. You could be eligible to take advantage of the following education and training opportunities leading to employment.

  • Complete high school or attain a GED
  • Obtain additional education
  • On-the-Job Training. Earn while you learn & Get paid while you learn your new job
  • Work Experience (WEX) training. Gain the experience needed to get a job in a specific field

Qualify for TEA as minor parents

Below are the qualifications for minor parents and Arkansas TEA benefits:

  • Have a child under the age of 18 living in the home
  • Limited or no monthly income
  • Be an Arkansas resident
  • Be a Untied States citizen or lawful alien

While attending school, training or work experience activities in preparation for employment, you may be eligible for supportive services such as:

  • Child care Assistance
  • Transportation Assistance
  • Monthly cash Assistance
TANF restrictions

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services announces to all current and future Transitional Employment Assistance (TEA) and Work Pays recipients that it is illegal to use an ATM or make purchases with your TANF Program EBT card at the following locations:

  • Any Liquor Store
  • Any Gambling or Gaming Casino
  • Any Horse Racing Track
  • Any Dog Racing Track
  • Any Strip Club

Doing so can result in the loss of your TEA or Work Pays benefits.

I was denied TANF benefits. What can I do?

State and local agencies are responsible for establishing the eligibility criteria and procedures that apply in their programs, not the Federal government. If you disagree with a decision regarding welfare benefits, you have the right to file an appeal. For more information about your state's appeals procedures, contact the AR TANF office.