Apply For Mississippi TANF Benefits

Learn how to apply for Mississippi TANF. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, called Mississippi Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, 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 Human 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 MS 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 Mississippi TANF can receive welfare benefits. For more information about applying for MS TANF benefits, view the information below. If you still have questions or issues, then contact TANF Mississippi.

The purpose of the Mississippi TANF program is to:

  • To provide assistance to needy families with children so that they can live in their own home or the homes of relatives
  • To end the dependency of needy parents on government benefits through work, job preparation, and marriage
  • To reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and
  • To promote the formation and maintenance of two-parent families

Mississippi TANF requirements

Adults who receive TANF and who do not meet a work exemption are required to participate in work activities such as work experience, job search and/or others.

Mississippi TANF eligibility

Families must meet both financial and non-financial requirements established in state law. In general, families must include a child under age 18 and be residents of Mississippi. Children under age 7 must comply with TANF immunization requirements, and children ages 6 to 17 must attend school and have satisfactory attendance. Children age 18 that are included in the Assistance Unit (AU) because they are in school full-time, must have satisfactory school attendance.

How long can I receive TANF benefits?

Mississippi provides assistance for 60 months. The maximum allowed by Federal law. States may extend assistance beyond 60 months to up to 20 percent of their caseload provided for hardship. A hardship exists when both of the following criteria is a barrier to the family's attainment of self-sufficiency:

  • The disability of the grantee relative, other eligible adult or a household member is a barrier to employment for the grantee relative or other eligible adults and
  • The household's income does not exceed the Basic 100% Requirement for the TANF Program

The 60-month time limit is reduced to 24 months for TANF recipients who are determined to be work eligible individuals but fail, without good cause, to participate satisfactorily in the TANF Work Program (TWP).

Documents needed to apply for TANF

This checklist gives examples of the information that may have to be verified to determine your eligibility for SNAP and/or TANF. Use this checklist to help you gather the items needed for your interview.

  • Identity of person making application and authorized representative, if applicable
  • Divorce decree, marriage license, death certificate for spouse
  • Proof of relationship of children to you (TANF only)
  • Alien Status for any non-US citizen
  • Checking or savings account, or union or bank statement
  • Names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and places of employment of the absent parent(s) of your children
  • Trust funds
  • Medical expenses for anyone age 60 or older or disabled
  • Stocks and/or savings bonds
  • Social Security number for all individuals
  • Proof of where you live
  • Property owned, sold, or transferred
  • Pregnancy
  • Dependent care (child/disabled or aged dependent care)
  • Rent and Utility expenses
  • Income

If you have any current medical documentation to verify a current medical condition, please bring it to your appointment. At the time of your interview, you may be asked to furnish additional information and/or verification, depending on your circumstances.

Failure to keep your initial TANF application appointment will cause your TANF application to be denied. You must bring or send verification for each of the items needed to determine your eligibility.

Items to be Verified

Below list items that will need to be verified. Bring or send one or more of the following:

  • Identity
  • Driver's license
  • Work or school ID
  • Work badge
  • Health insurance ID
  • ID for another assistance program
  • Voter registration card
  • Birth certificates
  • Draft cards or military ID
  • Medicare Card
  • United States Passport
  • Proof of where you live
  • Rent or lease receipts from landlord
  • Utility bills
  • Mortgage payment book
  • Tax receipts
  • Documents showing home address
  • Alien Status
  • INS 1-151 Alien Registration Receipt Card
  • 1-551 Re-entry Permit. 1-94 Arrival-Departure Record
  • Social Security Numbers
  • Social Security Card for each member
  • An official document containing the Social Security Number
  • Social Security Award Letter
  • Income
  • Check Stubs
  • Statement from employer
  • Benefit award letter from Social Security
  • SSI
  • Veterans Administration
  • Unemployment Compensation
  • Business records for self-employed
  • Lay off or termination notice
  • IRS 1040 Form - for self-employment
  • Trust Funds
  • Wills
  • Court orders
  • Deeds or other documents by which the trust was established
  • Medical Expenses
  • Medical bills from hospitals or clinics
  • Printouts from pharmacist
  • Health insurance premium receipt or stub
  • Payment agreement with doctor, and/or hospital
  • Pregnancy
  • Statement from a licensed physician or medical personnel in a public health or outpatient clinic
  • Residency
  • Rent or lease receipt from landlord
  • Utility bills (gas, electric, water etc.)
  • Telephone bill
  • Property tax statement
  • Home owner's insurance policy
  • Mortgage payment books
Dependent Care

Child care or day care receipts or statement from provider

  • Property Owned
  • Sold or Transferred
  • Deeds
  • Sale or transfer papers
  • Proof Of Relationship
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage licenses
  • Insurance policies
  • Wills

Apply for Mississippi TANF

To apply for Mississippi TANF benefits, you must submit an application to the Department of Human Services (DHS) office in the county where you live. The application is available online or you may request an application by phone, in person, by fax, or by mail from the county DHS office. To download the application, click here. To find a location, view a list of county DHS offices near you.

Upon receipt of your application, a face-to-face interview or telephonic interview will be scheduled to determine your family's eligibility. You will be notified of your appointment date and time and the documents that must be provided for the interview.

When the TANF interview is completed, a worker will conduct an investigation to see whether the family is eligible according to all TANF eligibility factors. A notice will be provided to the parent or caretaker relative within 30 days telling whether the family is approved for MS TANF benefits, the amount, start date, etc.

Maximum TANF benefits

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 monthly benefit up to the state maximum for that household size. Monthly payments in Mississippi are limited to no more than:

  • $110 for the first person
  • $36 for the second person
  • $24 for each additional person

Currently, the benefit for a family of three is $170. Benefits are issued through the Mississippi Debt MasterCard Card which is a prepaid debit MasterCard. The ePayment card can be used at MasterCard member banks, ATMs and any retailers that accept MasterCard.

Maximum monthly gross income limits

The gross monthly income limit for a family of three is currently $680. If a family member works and pays for child care, the actual verified cost of child care can be deducted. Use the table below to find the maximum monthly gross income allowed for your household size.

Number Persons in Assistance Unit Maximum Monthly Gross Income (185%)
1 $403
2 $542
3 $680
4 $819
5 $958
6 $1,097
7 $1,235
8 $1,374
9 $1,513
10 $1,652

If more than 10 are in the budget, add $75 to the requirements for each person above 10 and compute 185 percent of that figure, rounding down to the nearest dollar, for the gross income test. This income limit includes requirements for food, clothing, personal incidentals, electricity, water, household supplies, fuel, and shelter.

Maximum Resource Limits

Mississippi adopted Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility. This means the household is not subject to a resource test unless a household member is currently disqualified for Intentional Program Violation (IPV), been convicted of a drug-related felony, or the household received any lump sum payments in the 12 months prior to the date of application.

Lump sum payments do not include EITC, tax refunds, tax rebates, or tax credits. The maximum amount of cash or cash assets which a TANF assistance unit may retain and be eligible for TANF is $2000.

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 MS TANF office.