What Grandfamilies Need to Know about Accessing TANF Benefits

TANF Benefits For Grandfamilies – Your Guide To Access

(DailyDig.com) – Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is one of the only benefits available to grandfamilies, or families that typically look like grandparents raising children, but can include aunts, uncles, and other family members stepping in to provide this type of support as well. As a federal program, TANF is available throughout the United States, but looks different from state to state because states ultimately make decisions about who can receive this financial support or public benefit.

How Does TANF Help Children in Grandfamilies?

TANF helps grandfamilies in a few ways, such as providing cash each month to help the grandfamily’s needs. Specifically, TANF is supposed to aid in the financial aspects of childrearing. TANF can also help pay for short-term situations, such as the need to pay an electric bill in a home with a low-income child, transportation to medical facilities for children, or practical items such as cribs, car seats, and clothing in emergency situations. TANF is often the front line of assistance as well, there to provide financial support while a grandfamily awaits a decision on a program like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) or MEdicaid, which can help with healthcare.

In many instances extended family member caregivers care for children on short notice or in an emergency situation and aren’t aware of TANF or the other financial assistance they could use. TANF is an ideal starting point, and the grandfamily should access TANF through the child’s case worker (social worker). There are two types of TANF grants, specifically created to cover the broadest amount of in-need children as possible. These include child-only grants and family grants. This can help clarify questions about whether grandfamilies can use TANF to cover bills that benefit the entire family, such as rent payments.

What Are Child-Only TANF Grants?

Child-only TANF grants only cover what the child needs. It also takes into consideration a child’s income, which can include child support payments, Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI), or if a working teenager, limited wages. Many grandfamilies can get child-only TANF grants because most children have little or no income. These types of grants aren’t as significant as the other kind and typically don’t provide for all of a child’s costs, but they do help with expenses.

Child-only TANF grants come out to about $8 daily per child. Again, though, some states may contribute more or less to TANF, and the second (third, fourth, and so on) child receive a lower amount than the initial child. Usually only the first child gets the full TANF grant amount. Generally that goes to the one with the highest costs, such as an infant.

What Are Family TANF Grants?

Family TANF grants involve qualification via your state’s income requirements. This type of TANF grant helps with family-specific needs like rent and utilities, but is still granted due ot the fact that the grandfamily is raising one or more child from their extended family. TANF grants are there to remain in place until you can begin getting other aid like SNAP, so federal limits often allow only 60 months of TANF. Family TANF usually goes to families with working adults.

Grandfamilies including adults 60 years of age and older serving as primary caregivers may find they have exceptions under TANF.

Perceived TANF Risks

Families with children on TANF must give up child support rights to the state, meaning child support collected on behalf of the child goes to the state instead of the gradfamily. However, “good cause” exceptions often exist, so if you can prove that a child may be in danger of violence, you may not have to do this. Every state has the ability to grant this type of exception.

If you’re suddenly in the situation of caring for an extended family child, contact their social worker immediately to get started with TANF. This aid is there to help you out while your grandfamily becomes permanently established.

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