Do You Meet TANF Requirements? There’s An Easy Way To Tell
(ReliableNews.org) – The United States government, both federal and state, have aid in place to help struggling families in their time of need. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is a federally-funded resource giving money to qualifying low-income families in the form of grants to assist them in achieving economic stability. The Office of Family Assistance (OFA) provides money to TANF programs to states all over the country, including US territories and American Indian and Alaskan Native tribes.
Prior to 1996, the government ran the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program and others but replaced them with the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) which gave birth to TANF. All a family has to do is qualify.
How to Qualify for TANF
The TANF benefits are available for short-term assistance to boost families out of welfare programs and toward self-sufficiency. In addition to cash, the program may include childcare and work assistance to support families during their transition.
Since it’s a state distribution program, the qualifications vary based on the state in which the applicant lives. In general, an individual must have at least one child under 18 years old, be pregnant, or be 18 years old as the head of household. There are also income limits, typically below the poverty line, and family assets also have to be below a set value in the majority of states. Wisconsin’s income levels have a threshold, but it does not fall below the poverty line, and a handful of states recently eliminated the asset test. These include Virginia, Maryland, Colorado, Alabama, Ohio, and Louisiana.
Citizens can find out if they qualify by visiting this eligibility checker and filling out some basic information. The American Indian population can also check this list to see if their tribal nation or organization receives funds for the Tribal TANF program.
The Pillars of Assistance
Currently, the federal government provides about $16.5 billion to fund the TANF program. The groups then design operations to lift families out of poverty by addressing several broad purposes. The government wants to prevent or reduce pregnancies outside of marriage by encouraging two-parent households. The plan also aims to end family dependence on government benefits by giving them the tools they need to prepare for work and promoting marriage. Finally, TANF assists families by providing the means and resources to care for their children or other relatives who live in the home.
For individual state policies and provisions, applicants can visit their respective state website or contact the TANF federal administrator to ask questions about the program.
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