TANF: What You Need to Know

Understanding Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is designed to help needy families achieve self-sufficiency. The program is federally funded, but state administered and the benefits, services and eligibility requirements will vary from state to state.

State-administered programs may include childcare assistance, job preparation, and work assistance.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for this benefit program, the applicant must either be pregnant or responsible for a child under 19 years of age. In addition, the applicant must:

  • be a US citizen, legal alien, or permanent resident
  • have low or very low income
  • be under-employed (working for very low wages), unemployed or about to become unemployed

Each state and territory decides the benefits it will provide and may also establish specific eligibility criteria that must be met to receive benefits and services.

Therefore, you must check with the TANF agency in the area that you reside to learn whether you are eligible to receive financial assistance or other TANF benefits and services.