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Welfare / TANF Assistance Program

Welfare / TANF Overview
The Welfare / TANF program, also known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, is financed through the federal government but managed individually according to each state's specifications. Families with children and pregnant women who are in their final trimester benefit from this financial aid program. Short-term monetary aid is offered and job assistance is provided to help individuals and/or families eventually become self-sufficient.

Originally including the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, the TANF program was enacted in 1996 as an improvement on the multiple aid programs of that time. It was instituted under President Bill Clinton with the goal of providing temporary relief to individuals and / or families with dependent children, in the hope of getting citizens off the need for assistance.

All U.S. States, territories and tribal governments receive TANF grants annually. Financial funds through the grants enable payment of state services and benefits to help families who are in need. States have significant discretion in how to distribute TANF entitlements, even having the ability to terminate TANF payments all together.

To maintain the continuation of yearly grants through the TANF, individual states need to display the operation of the program through specific features. Implementing strategies for the prevention of unmarried pregnancies and encouraging family units which include both parents present are emphasized. TANF also aids families in need to allow growing children to be looked after at home and to help parents in preparing job skills necessary for future independence.

Welfare / TANF recipients are required to find a job with 24 months (2 years) of receiving entitlement benefits. Recipients can receive a maximum of 60 months of entitlement benefits in their lifetime although some states have made that period shorter. While 60 months is enforced, states have been known to limit the adult assistance only while leaving full benefits to eligible household children.