What is TANF?

In the United States, there are several government assistance programs that help American families financially. Because of this, it can be difficult to decide which programs can be beneficial for your family. The requirements and benefits of each program seem very similar to each other. However, they can vary by location and other factors. 

]What is TANF? The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a program created to give money to low-income families. TANF is similar to other federal programs in the sense that the main eligibility requirement is income. 

However, there is more to the program than that. If you are wondering, “What is TANF benefits?” you will discover that there are many of them. To navigate those benefits and find out if TANF is suited for you, continue reading the following sections below. 

What is the TANF program?

Local TANF programs receive their benefit money through block grant funds. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services distributes these funds to local state offices. What is TANF’s purpose? To provide these funds to qualifying families across the country that are in need of financial assistance. 

The main purpose of TANF is to improve the lives of families in need by helping them become self-sufficient, which includes more than just cash benefits. If you are still wondering, “What is TANF program?” here are the four main reasons for TANF: 

  • To help families with children so they are thriving at home. 
  • To promote marriage and work as well as teach job preparation to needy parents in order to end their dependency. 
  • To prevent and reduce pregnancies that occur out of wedlock. 
  • To encourage the formation of two-parent families.

The TANF program is designed to help all families, so the program also has Tribal TANF. There is a list of tribes that have grants allocated to fund TANF. Tribal TANF has the same benefits as TANF does. 

However, if you not part of a federally recognized tribe, then your tribe may not be receiving fund for Tribal TANF. You may call your local Health and Human Services office to find out if your tribe is on the list.

What are TANF benefits?

Because TANF has more purposes than other government programs, it has a variety of benefits. Foremost, benefits include cash to help participants with food costs, medical costs and childcare. TANF cash benefits can also be used to pay for transportation if they need to commute to work.

What is TANF benefits besides cash? TANF is also a welfare-to-work program. If you are unemployed, the TANF program will help you become career-ready by providing job training and how to find a career. 

The TANF program is designed to provide programs that have childcare assistance, job preparation and work assistance. The program also provides benefits to families with children who have been abused or neglected. You may also just receive wage supplements.

TANF has subprograms that are administered by the state, which means local programs may be named differently depending on the state. What is TANF like in each state? Because TANF is managed by the states, the state administration will decide the policies and adjust them to the needs of the population. 

Benefit level for households will vary from state to state. Additionally, the maximum amount of time you can receive benefits is for two years. 

What are the TANF requirements?

The TANF program is designed to have different kinds of eligibility requirements for TANF. For instance, applicants must meet the program’s definition of a family. The applicant must be pregnant or caring for a child younger than 18 years of age. However, the child can be 19, but he or she must be a full-time student. 

Other requirements include household members having or having applied for a Social Security Number and accepting assistance from other government programs. There are also citizenship requirements. In order to be eligible, applicants must be a:

  • U.S. citizen.
  • U.S. national.
  • Legal alien.
  • Permanent resident.

You must also meet income requirements in order to obtain cash assistance from TANF. If you are wondering, “What is TANF benefits and income have to do with each other?” then you must remember that the program’s benefits are intended for needy families. You become one step closer to being approved for TANF if your household income meets the qualifications. Your household income also determines the benefit amount you receive. 

The program also has work requirements applicants must adhere to. “What is TANF work requirements?” you may be wondering. Typically, you will have to be either underemployed or unemployed. If you are underemployed, you must be working a minimum of 30 hours a week, 20 hours if you are a single parent with a child younger than six years of age. 

Is TANF a social insurance program?

If you are wondering, “Is TANF a social insurance program?” then the answer is that it is not. A social insurance program is a government assistance program that provides insurance on the basis on statute, is funded by taxes or premiums paid by the participants and will serve a specific population. 

TANF is a welfare program, which differs from a social insurance program. The difference is that social insurance programs take contributions from beneficiaries and welfare programs do not. Welfare programs provide benefits based on the needs of the participants, not their contributions. 

For instance, Medicare is a social insurance program because the program is based on how much the Medicare beneficiary can afford and not just how much financial assistance they need. Other types of social insurance programs are Social Security, worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance. These programs require that the participant provide a kind of contribution in order to receive government help. These programs require the participant to work for a specific amount of time and earn a certain amount to get benefits. 

What is TANF as a welfare program? TANF qualifies as a welfare program because it provides cash assistance to families and decides the amount of benefits, is decided by the financial need of the household.