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Temporary Assistance to Needy Families Application Information (TANF Info)

Updated on July 7, 2017

What is TANF?

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) is financial assistance, or cash assistance allocated to low income families with children, and all states operate a TANF program.

Back in the day, TANF used to be referred to as AFDC or ADC which stood for Aid to Families with Dependent Children.

This is the program that most people refer to when the speak about "welfare," and speak negatively about the term "welfare moms."

If you need financial assistance to help your family to make it through tough times, my advice to you is to forget about all the people who speak negatively about the program.

First of all , so called "welfare moms" do not and cannot exist anymore (not for long anyway), and the program has instituted some positive changes to try to put an end to chronic welfare dependence.

Changes in the Program

In 1996, President Clinton instituted Welfare Reform. The official title of the program is the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996.

Under the program AFDC or ADC was replaced by TANF, and the new program demanded the following changes:

  • Ending welfare as an entitlement program, as it had been before;
  • Requiring recipients to begin working after two years of receiving benefits;
  • Placing a lifetime limit of five years on benefits paid by federal funds;
  • Aiming to encourage two-parent families and discouraging out-of-wedlock births.
  • Enhancing enforcement of child support.

Negative Changes

Although the program is applauded by some people as an absolute success; others, like me, believe that there are huge cracks in the system where many people fall through.

First of all, in most cases, the requirement to work can be satisfied by the recipient obtaining low wage employment. What is the purpose of kicking people off of the system, only to be thrown into more low-income living. How is this a success?

Homeless families are now a large sector of the homeless population - the loss of TANF benefits is one of the largest catalysts of this issue.

Secondly, the enforcement of child support was a good concept, but the states usually do not go far enough to encourage child support payments. A suspended driver's license is usually not enough to scare some absent parent's into making payments - tougher consequences should be instituted.

Positive Changes

Lifetime limits do well to stimulate recipients' desire to obtain a higher standard of living through education and job training.

Self Sufficiency programs provide outstanding opportunities for motivated recipients to pursue a higher standard of living.

Self sufficiency programs are programs that help a TANF recipient to move toward financial stability. Some of these programs include:

*ChildCare Assistance
*Transportation Assistance (for work or job training)
*Employment Training Programs
*Job Finding Assistance

If you believe you are eligible for TANF, and you are motivated to improve your financial situation, you should stress to your caseworker that you are extremely interested in these programs.

TANF Eligibility and TANF Applications

As I mentioned above, each state operates its own cash assistance program, and the rules and regulations vary a little for each. However, most of the basic guidelines and regulations never change:

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be a citizen of the United States.
  • Children must be either citizens or have eligible alien status.
  • You will need a valid social security card.
  • You must fall within certain low income guidelines
  • Your must have at least 1 child 18 years old or younger.

Apply for TANF
Apply for TANF


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    • monicamelendez profile image

      monicamelendez 5 years ago from Salt Lake City

      @no name - you have to pick your state and go to the site. All the links are there!

    • profile image

      no name 5 years ago

      where would you find the application for the TANF program????