Understanding TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

(DailyDig.com) – Many families have found themselves in need of financial support as monetary challenges, including rising inflation, continue to come their way. The government offers the TANF program, or temporary assistance for needy families, to help provide some much-needed financial support and make it easier for families to keep their heads above water while dealing with those financial challenges.

TANF programs are intended to assist families in need so that children can remain in their own homes, or in the homes of relatives, despite financial challenges. TANF benefits also help encourage the development and maintenance of family living, including encouraging two-parent family relationships.

What is the TANF Program?

The TANF program offers benefits designed for families in dire situations. Benefits may vary by state, depending on what programs the state has available and what is affordable. However, available assistance may include:

Childcare Assistance

In families with minor children, having someone to care for those children can prove essential. Often, caregivers have to remain out of work if they cannot afford to pay for childcare, creating a vicious cycle that can make it difficult to break out of the poverty cycle. Childcare assistance can help temporarily subsidize the cost of childcare.

Job Preparation

In some states, TANF programs can help provide support for people who are looking for a job. Job preparation can help people learn vital skills that can help them move into new employment. Through comprehensive job assistance programs, many people also feel more confident about their job searches.

Work Assistance

TANF may also provide assistance moving into a new job. Many people find themselves struggling to find available employment, despite an overall willingness to work. Working with a work assistance provider can help them get jobs and make it easier to keep them.

Who is Eligible for TANF?

TANF benefits are available to US citizens, legal aliens, and qualified aliens. In order to qualify for TANF benefits, you must apply in the state you live in, of which you are a legal resident. In addition, your household will need to include at least one child 18 or younger.

TANF benefits are intended for either families that are unemployed or underemployed, and that have very low income. TANF benefits are intended to provide temporary assistance to families that may have substantial financial needs, to help those families get back on their feet.

Available support may vary by state. The federal government provides block grants to states for use in their TANF programs. The states can then use those funds to build their own programs, and they may put their own funding into those programs.

How to Apply for TANF Benefits

In order to apply for TANF benefits, you will need to locate your state’s TANF application. You will need to provide:

  • Information about your household, including the presence of any minor children
  • Proof of employment/income to show that you qualify

Your ability to receive TANF benefits may depend on what funding is available in your state. Some states may have a heavier overall burden on their TANF programs than others.

Can TANF Benefits Help You or a Loved One?

If you or a loved one need temporary assistance with employment, from developing employment skills to improving employment opportunities, you need help with childcare, and you have a child under the age of 18 in the home, TANF benefits can help provide you with the support you need during that difficult time. Fill out your application and check into what other resources are available near you to get a better feel for what programs may help you reach your goals.

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