Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF) – How To Apply

TANF is a government program that provides grants to states so they can provide needy families with financial support and other services. It is a state-administered program that includes job preparation, childcare assistance, and work support as well.

To qualify for the program, you must either be a child under the age of 19 or pregnant. You must also be a US citizen, a legal alien, or a permanent residence, and you must be under-employed i.e. working for extremely low wages, be unemployed or about to be unemployed.

Each state usually decides on the benefits it will provide. They also establish the eligibility criteria they will use to offer financial assistance and other benefits. You must, therefore, check the TANF agency in the area you reside in to learn whether you are eligible or not.

Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF) - How To Apply

What Is The Purpose Of This Service?

The main purpose of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program is to offer temporary support to families that are living under the poverty line, as well as pregnant mothers. They help may help you in the following areas.


They have a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP, whose responsibility is to provide eligible families with benefit cards that can be used just like debit cards when buying foods from any authorized stores and farmer’s markets. This offers healthy foods to pregnant mothers, kids under five years of age, and new moms. They also provide free and low-cost meals to school-aged kids and daycare centers. Their farmer’s market coupons provide healthy and organic foods to seniors.


They provide Medicaid, which offers free and low-cost health benefits to pregnant women, kids, adults, people with disabilities and seniors. Their children’s Health Insurance Program – CHIP, provides low-cost dental and medical care to kids who are uninsured up to the age of 19. These kids should be from families whose income is below the limit for Medicaid.


They offer housing vouchers, subsidized housing, and public housing programs that can help low-income families, people with disabilities, and seniors. These programs give them affordable government-owned or private housing options. Also, under the housing program, the TANF provides Low-Income Home Energy Assistance programs – LIHEAP which pays heating and cooling costs for low-income families. It also offers home improvement options at low costs.

Financial Assistance

This government program offers needy families cash under their Welfare for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families section. Low-income earners who are currently working towards self-sufficiency are eligible for this program, and other benefits such as training for jobs, and child care.

How Do You Apply?

You can apply for a TANF assistance online, or through the local government offices that serve the area in which you live. Use the DHS locator to help in finding the nearest community resource center. When you apply, they usually determine whether you are eligible before you can receive cash or vouchers. If you are seeking to receive immediate help, then you should check with your state’s social agency which may help you with this. They will either offer you financial assistance or refer you to the local community for help.

Searching For Financial Assistance

Benefits.gov is where you should go. This is a free site that helps you determine the different types of government assistance that you can qualify for. On this site, you can also find out where you should apply for different types of help.

Using their built-in benefits finder, you can answer different questions about yourself and the kind of needs you have. The results usually show you the programs that you may qualify for and the kind of help the government is willing to pay for such as housing, health care, utilities, and more. Check back in the future to see if you have become eligible for additional benefits. You should keep updating the site with major life events that can qualify you for other benefits.


  • All the programs under this government facility have income limits, which means that your income must be under a specific level.
  • You must reside in the US.
  • Other requirements include the size of your family and financial resources.
  • A household should include an adult who is not exempt and as such can receive the TAONF or TANF benefits for at least five years.
  • A qualifying family should have children who are under 19 years of age and earning a gross income that is under 185% of the poverty level, as per the 2006 Federal rule.
  • All applicants should be participating in the TANF work program.
  • Some tribal groups operate their own TANF programs.
Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF) - How To Apply


The TANF program is essentially designed to only offer temporary help to needy families, and sooner or later the government will withdraw their assistance. It is therefore important that you look for alternative ways of supporting yourself before the assistance is withdrawn.