Apply For Missouri TANF Benefits

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

Missouri TANF eligibility requirements

The applicant must be a Missouri resident and the parent or legal caretaker of a child who is either under age 18, or the child is attending high school (or equivalent) and is expected to graduate before age 19.

To be considered low-income, the members of the applicant's household cannot own resources valued at more than $1,000 at the time of filling out your application, excluding their home and one household member's car.

After the applicant is approved for Missouri Temporary Assistance (TA) and he/she signs an Individual Employment Plan, the household's resources cannot be valued at more than $5,000.

The applicant must either have or agree to apply for Social Security numbers for all household members or that household member will not receive TA benefits for themselves.

A household member convicted after August 22, 1996 in a Federal or State court of a felony or any crime related to illegal possession, use, or distribution of a controlled substance will not receive Missouri TANF benefits for themselves.

A household member who is a fleeing felon and is in violation of a condition of probation or parole imposed under a Federal or State Law will not receive not receive TA benefits for themselves.

If the applicant is approved for Temporary Assistance, the rights for child support must be assigned to the Family Support Division (FSD). The applicant must cooperate in attempting to collect Child Support, or the TA benefit will be reduced by 25%.

The Child Support requirement may be waived if the applicant can prove this would be physically or emotionally harmful to themselves or the household member children.

The money must be used for the benefit for the children in the household. The applicant must attempt to support or help support the children by accepting employment that does not cause a net loss of income. For drug testing:

  • Missouri law requires the FSD to ask TA applicants questions about illegal drug use. If the applicant is approved for benefits and did not answer the questions, they will not receive TA benefits for themselves for three years
  • TA recipients may be required to take a drug test and if they do not show up for the appointment or do not complete the drug test, they will not receive TA benefits for themselves for three years
  • TA recipients can chose to go directly to substance abuse treatment instead of taking a drug test
  • If a TA recipient tests positive or elects to go directly to treatment, they must agree to join, participate, and successfully complete a substance abuse treatment program through the Department of Mental Health (DMH), or they will not receive TA benefits for themselves for three years
  • If a TA recipient is ineligible for TA for themselves, they must appoint a Protective Payee to receive benefits for the rest of the household

Missouri TANF employment and training requirements

If approved for Missouri Temporary Assistance, most recipients are required to participate in employment and training activities. There are times when they are not required to participate in these activities due to an exemption including:

  • There is a domestic violence situation and participating in employment and training activities would cause physical or emotional harm to the recipient or the children in the household
  • The recipient is over 60 years of age, or is permanently disabled
  • The recipient has a child under 12 weeks of age
  • The recipient is needed in the home to care for a disabled family member

If the recipient has an exemption, they can chose to volunteer in employment and training activities with the Missouri Work Assistance Program (MWA). For recipients that do not meet an exemption, they must be in employment and training activities for a minimum number of average hours per federal month.

Please note that weeks are calculated as Saturday through Friday in a federal month, so a month may include either four or five weeks depending on the number of Fridays. The required average employment and training activities for a federal month for a single-parent household are:

  • 20 hours per week if the children are under age 6
  • 30 hours per week if the children are over age 6

The required average employment and training activities for a federal month for a two-parent household are:

  • 35 hours per week if the children are under age 6 and the household is not receiving federally funded childcare on the household members, and
  • 55 hours per week for all other households

If the TA recipient does not participate in the required work activities through the MWA program, the TA cash benefits will be reduced by half and then stopped.

Calculating amount of TA benefits

The amount of benefits your family may be eligible for is determined by a few factors including the size of your household and the expenses associated with caring for the children.

When you will receive TA benefits

After the TA applicant submits their application and all required documentation, the FSD (Family Support Division) will determine if the applicant is eligible for benefits. If the TA application is approved, payment will be received as a direct deposit to the bank account or on the EBT Card within 45 days. TA benefits are then paid monthly.

Apply for Missouri TANF

You can apply for the Missouri TANF program by mailing it in, faxing it or in-person at a local FSD Resource Center. To download a copy of the TANF application, click here. If you plan to mail it in, then mail it to the following address:

Family Support Division
Attn: TA Application
615 E 13th St
Kansas City, MO 64106

If you want to fax it in instead, then fax it to the following:

Attn: TA application

If you want to submit your application in-person, then view a list of Family Support Division Resources Centers near you. A face-to-face interview is not required before the FSD processes the application. For more information or to check the status of your application, please contact them at 855-373-4636.

After the application has been processed, the FSD will send the TA applicant a letter of TA approval or denial. If the applicant is eligible to receive TA, an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card will be issued or payments will be made through direct deposit to the bank account depending on what was chosen on the TA application. The TA recipient will access benefits through the EBT card at a cash register or an automatic teller machine (ATM).

How long will I be eligible for Temporary Assistance benefits?

A Temporary Assistance (TA) recipient can continue receiving TA cash benefits as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. Benefits are limited to 45 months unless the parent or legal guardian is age 60 or over, is disabled or is needed in the home to care for a disabled family member.

What is a Temporary Assistance annual review?

Temporary Assistance recipients must complete a review each year. During this annual review, the Family Support Division (FSD) verifies income and resources. For any new household members, FSD also verifies that individual's Social Security number and citizenship status.

How can I check on my Temporary Assistance application?

You can check the status of your application by calling 800-392-1261. Help is available through this automated phone line 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What happens if I become ineligible for TA benefits?

If you become ineligible for Temporary Assistance (TA) benefits through misuse of benefits or by not complying with drug testing, screening or treatment, a protective payee will administer the TA benefits for the household. A relative, friend, clergy person, or other qualified adult may be designated as a protective payee.

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 MO TANF office.