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TANF Benefits: What Is It and How To Be Eligible?

In addition to SNAP, several additional support programs, such as TANF benefits, can aid low-income people and households.

States and territories are given money under  Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF to assist families and people financially. Aid to Families with Dependent Children was superseded by TANF after it was adopted in 1996. (AFDC).

Who are Eligible for TANF Benefits?

Under TANF, the federal government provides states with a fixed block grant, which they then utilize to run their own programs. Occasionally, states will give the program a new name; in California, the project is known as CalWORKS. 

The TANF program’s goals are to support low-income families so that children can be cared for in their own homes or the homes of relatives and to lessen the dependency of low-income parents by promoting job training, employment, and marriage.

TANF also attempts to promote the development and upkeep of two-parent families and discourage pregnancies among unmarried individuals.

The fundamental distinction between TANF and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is that TANF attempts to assist low-income families with dependent children in becoming self-sufficient, whereas food stamps give low-income households and individuals the ability to purchase food.

Income determines who is eligible for TANF payments. Candidates must be unemployed or underemployed, have a kid who is 18 years old or younger, be pregnant, or be a child who is 18 years old or younger.

Additionally, candidates must reside in the state in which they are applying. By state, eligibility varies. Generally speaking, to receive TANF payments, one must be a US citizen, US national, or legally admitted alien.

Benefits are not available to some people, such as those with drug-related criminal convictions. But by enacting legislation, governments might make the ban wholly or partially permanent.

While 25 states have abolished the ban, DC and 18 other states have only partially done so. Seven states continue to enforce the lifetime prohibition.

READ MORE: What is The IRS 600 Dollar Rule? Does It Affect You as a Low-Income Earner?

How to Apply for TANF Benefits?

In addition to SNAP, several additional support programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, can aid low-income people and households.

READ MORE: How Much Money Do You Have to Make Before You Can No Longer Receive Food Stamps?

When applying for TANF funds, each state has its own procedures and methods. In California, potential applicants can submit their applications online at or by contacting their county’s social services office.

The same application process is available in Washington State, and people interested in receiving TANF benefits may submit an application online or by phone at 877-501-2233. Visit your neighborhood Community Services Office if you’re interested in applying for TANF funds.

TANF benefits, as opposed to SNAP benefits, which only concentrate on qualifying food products, can be used for a variety of family needs.

Recipients of TANF benefits may use TANF funding to cover their rent and mortgage payments. Additionally, it can be used to pay for domestic appliances, laundry services, personal hygiene items, internet, phone services, medical expenses, and supplies that Medicaid does not cover.

The Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which can be used to purchase goods and services, is also given to TANF recipients. ATM withdrawals are also possible with EBT cards.

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