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Welfare / TANF Eligibility

Welfare / TANF Eligibility and Requirements
TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) is a federal assistance benefit program offered by the US government and operated by state governments. Before applying for TANF, it is important to review the requirements in your state to learn if you are eligible. Eligibility is based on a number of factors and even if you meet all requirements, you still may be turned down for benefits assistance. Let's now discuss the general requirements.

Families can receive funds through the government assisted program for a maximum of 5 years (possibly less according to individual state guidelines) and after the maximum has been reached, ineligibility for the TANF program occurs. Any state can opt to continue benefits past the 5 year government maximum. This can be achieved through the use of various state funds or the availability of Social Services Block Grants through the federal government.

To continue to receive benefits, recipients must be employed at least 30 hours a week (with children in the home 6 years of age or younger, the amount of time employed is reduced to 20 hours a week). Employment within two years is expected upon entering the program. Some states will allow a child who previously received benefits through TANF to be eligible to receive another 5 year's worth of benefits in adulthood.

Though eligibility requirements vary from state to state, there are a number of requirements that are identical. Those seeking aid must be U.S. citizens and their children either need to be citizens or able to claim eligible status as an alien. Social security numbers are required, a family needs to earn a below average monthly income and children in the home need to be 18 years of age or less.

Although these general requirements exist in many states, it is important to visit your state's website to review the specific eligibility requirements.