Understanding Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Introduction

Have you ever heard the saying “nothing lasts forever”? Well, there is a benefits Program that embodies that saying. Life is not getting any cheaper. If anything, it is getting more expensive and that leads to falling deeper into financial troubles. Sound familiar? You are in luck, because there is a solution to this problem. You will be able to find many forms of assistance with different government benefit Programs. However, there is a benefits Program that offers temporary assistance for those who are financially struggling. You will be able to receive funds, job training, food, housing, and energy. There are other things that this Program will provide for you.

This Program is known as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF. You will be able to get some help to get back on your feet. That is a relief, isn’t it? You are not alone in your troubles and there is always a helping hand when you need it. It is up to you to make sure that you are eligible to receive help. This article will inform you on what the TANF Program is, how to apply, and if you are eligible. Also, you will know all about the benefits and drawbacks of the TANF Program.

What is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)?

Have you heard of the term TANF before and wondered, “What is TANF assistance?” If you were ever curious, TANF is one popular assistance option for Americans; it stands for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program. This Program is able to help provide temporary financial help to pregnant women and families that have one or more dependent children. The TANF Program allows you to achieve self-sufficiency by providing different forms of assistance.

TANF uses state funds that can provide up to five years of cash support with job opportunities and assistance. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program is a government Program that is federally-funded and run by state governments. Struggling families achieve independence through the assistance of the Program. Food, housing, energy, child care, and job training are given to families who receive assistance. You will find that each state administers its own Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program. Also, each state decides who is qualified to receive assistance. You should keep in mind that if your eligibility for other benefit Programs, that does not automatically mean you are qualified for the TANF Program. (Probasco)

Main Goal of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program

There are many purposes of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program. The main goals of the TANF Program are to provide qualifying families with:

1- Transitional assistance designed to reduce the amount of dependency and promote responsibility. You can receive this assistance in forms of the following: GED preparation, vocational training, rehabilitation, postsecondary education, child care assistance, language skills, and more.

2- Temporary financial help for basic needs such as housing, food, clothes, etc. (Think of Maslow’s Needs and the TANF Program will cover it for you.)

3- Proper support with significant issues such as mental health, domestic violence, substance abuse, and so on.

Households that qualify to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) will get monthly cash payments. This will help pay for necessary expenses from housing to food, to bills, and more. The amount that you are eligible to receive depends on factors such as family size, where you live, etc.

Families that receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) financial assistance are also eligible to receive food assistance from other Programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). However, you will not be automatically eligible if you receive benefits from other Programs.

How to Determine Eligibility for The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program?

The federal law outlines that states must restrict TANF financial assistance to only go to qualifying families. However, every area is different. Each state will have their own criteria for what determines a family’s eligibility.

A good rule of thumb is that you will likely be able to qualify for assistance, if your family is considered low-income (based on the area that you are in). Also, you need to have one or more dependent children under the age of 18. You may also be eligible if your child is 18, as long as they are a full-time student in a secondary school. (Washington State Department of Social and Health Services)

You will not be able to qualify for this assistance option, if you have done the following:

– Convicted of specific felony offenses

– Violated your parole or probation

– Refused to work

– Pursued child support enforcement

– Lied on your application

– Received your total of five years’ worth of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) help.

TANF is considered a work Program. However, in a lot of states, you do not need to take part in the work Program. You do not need to participate, if you meet one of the following criteria:

– Are a parent taking care of a child under 1 year old

– Are aged 60 or older

– Have approval to receive Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability payments from the Social Security Administration.

– Are a veteran who receives disability payments from the Veteran’s Administration.

TANF Program’s Work Requirements

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program requires all recipients to take part in work activities. If you do not participate in work activities, a State will reduce or terminate benefits from the assistance you received. States set sanction policies, which are “full-family termination.” This means that the entire family loses their TANF benefits, if a parent does not meet the work requirements. States administer and run the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program. State governments have the right to set their own regulations, especially on the recipient’s obligations. But, the decisions of the state government depend on the federal TANF work participation rates. This is measured based on detailed provisions of federal law. Any state that does not meet the work rates are faced with a monetary penalty.

In order to meet the federal work rates, fifty percent of recipients must take part in at least thirty hours of work activity per week. This includes twenty hours a week for single parents with children under the age of six. This is an essential aspect of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program. It is important because you will be able to gain experience in the workforce, despite not having any employment.

How to Apply For Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)?

If you want to apply for TANF assistance, then you can apply at your local social services agency. You can also call your state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) office. Before applying, make sure you understand what the TANF Program is, and how it may be able to help you! It is free to apply, so it doesn’t hurt to check either way.

You will have to fill an application online or in writing that you can send through the mail. Once you are done with an application, your local social services agency will contact you. A government official will conduct an interview with you, whenever it is convenient for you. The interview can be done through the telephone, your local social services agency, or at your home.

According to the TANF Guidance Manual from the Virginia Department of Social Services, “the local agency must complete the initial application process by the 30th calendar day following the application filing date. This time standard covers the day following the date of receipt of the signed application to the date the assistance payment is issued or the notification of denial of assistance is mailed to the applicant.” (Virginia Department of Social Services )

Pros and Cons of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program

With every government Program, you will find benefits and drawbacks to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program. You should be aware of the different benefits and drawbacks of the Program. This way, you will know what is right for you and what isn’t. Most importantly, you will know if the TANF Program is the right benefits Program for you. It is okay if it is not the right Program, there are other alternatives for you.

However, if you find that the advantages outweigh the drawbacks, then you should really consider applying for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program.

Pros of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program

There are four important benefits to the TANF Program that you should consider. The first benefit is that this Program provides different forms of assistance for families. This includes: food, housing, home energy, and cash assistance. (Basically anything that you might need to stay on your feet, the TANF Program offers it to its recipients.) The second benefit is that the TANF Program specifically targets assistance for children. Most benefit Programs are helpful, but the TANF Program is wholesome. The TANF Program allows you to help out your children in any way they can.

Another benefit is that you will be able to supplement income, if you already have a job. This means that you can supplement income, even though you are already working. You can increase your income, which will improve your standard of living. As for the final benefit, the TANF Program offers job training to encourage self-sufficiency for the recipients.

Cons of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program

Just like with the benefits, there are four main drawbacks to the TANF Program. The first drawback to the TANF Program is that the income to qualify is too low. This means that your income will allow you to qualify and it must be really low for you to be eligible. The second drawback is that this Program could create a negative social stigma. Simply put, there could be a negative image that follows the Program, in terms of its recipients. (No one will look down on you, and if they do, then they can go cry in the corner.)

Another disadvantage is that there is uneven coverage of the Program across the United States. This is because of the different state rules that are applied. Each state administers the Program in their own way and that could affect the coverage of the Program. Finally, the TANF Program offers different forms of assistance. Because of the assistance offered, many people are discouraged from looking for a job.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program is a federally-funded program that offers temporary relief to families that are financially struggling. There are different types of assistance that come with the TANF Program. This includes: food, housing, home energy, and cash assistance. You will also be offered job training and work activity. The TANF Program is run by the state government, so there are different requirements that you need to meet. One of the requirements that you might have is to participate in work activity, according to the state government regulations.

Additionally, there are different drawbacks and benefits that come with the Program. You may receive help that is specifically targeting children, but you may find uneven coverage depending on the state rules. Also, you will find that there are different forms of assistance in the TANF Program, but you will need to meet strict requirements to qualify for the Program. You may also find that there is a negative social stigma that follows the Program, but here’s advice you need to hear. No one cares when you are helping yourself out. You should not care when you are saving yourself.

Works Cited

Probasco, Jim. Government Assistance Programs. 20 06 2021. 10 07 2021 <https://www.investopedia.com/government-assistance-programs-4845368>.

Virginia Department of Social Services . Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Guidance Manual. n.d. 10 07 2021 <https://www.dss.virginia.gov/benefit/tanf/>.

Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. TANF Program and Support Services. n.d. 10 07 2021 <https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/community-services-offices/tanf-and-support-services>.

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