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Learn About Emergency TANF Assistance
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides emergency TANF assistance to low-income families facing utility disconnection and eviction or foreclosure.
To prevent families from facing homelessness and the dangers associated with having their utilities shut off, like extreme cold and warm temperatures, this program offers temporary money assistance. These benefits are short-term and non-recurrent, meant to fix an emergency situation immediately before it worsens.
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Every state receives funds from the federal government to operate its own unique emergency financial assistance program. Depending on the need for crisis management and a state’s public assistance caseload, some states may receive higher funding than others.
The amount of benefits a family receives will ultimately be determined by the state’s emergency funds and the maximum cash benefits amount determined by the state that year. To receive temporary cash assistance, families must meet the income and asset requirements determined by their states. To learn more about emergency TANF assistance, read the sections below.
What is emergency TANF assistance?
Emergency TANF assistance is a temporary, non-recurrent amount issued to needy families that are experiencing an emergency crisis and meet the general TANF eligibility requirements. While the definition of an emergency crisis varies by state, it is generally a situation that involves the threat of homelessness and utility termination.
With the help of financial assistance, families may be able to avoid eviction and foreclosure. Additionally, the program prevents the loss of heating and cooling services, hot water, and electricity.
This temporary money assistance program also allows financially struggling families the opportunity to obtain a home by covering the costs associated with moving. Qualifying families can receive first month’s rent, a utility deposit and a security deposit.
Furthermore, the program may pay for a qualifying family’s temporary housing at a hotel or motel as a transitional supplement while the family waits to move into a new home. Families may also receive money assistance for renting storage to temporarily hold their furniture and personal belongings.
When can you apply for emergency TANF assistance?
There are many instances where you can seek emergency TANF assistance to avoid homelessness or the threat of utility termination. If you receive an eviction notice from your landlord or a foreclosure notice from your bank, you should contact your state’s TANF office immediately. Additionally, you should apply for emergency financial assistance if your utilities have been shut off or are about to be disconnected. Living in an environment with extreme hot and cold temperatures can be very dangerous to you and your family. Furthermore, losing electricity can cause certain refrigerated foods to spoil.
If you or a member of your family has been physically abused by a partner, ex-partner or another family member, seek help from the temporary money assistance program. You may receive the financial assistance needed to stay in a domestic violence shelter. If you do not have a place to stay, have found a home and cannot afford the cost of moving, you may receive financial emergency assistance from TANF.
This includes not being able to afford the cost of your security or utility deposit. Do not hesitate to contact your local TANF office if you do not have the means to provide food or are about to be evicted. The program is meant to alleviate a situation before it becomes much worse.
How do I receive emergency financial assistance in my state?
To receive emergency TANF assistance in your state, you must meet your state’s TANF eligibility requirements. Furthermore, you must be in an emergency situation where your housing or utilities are being threatened. Depending on your state, you may not be eligible to receive money assistance if you have recently quit your job or refuse to accept suitable work.
Additionally, states define children of a household following different age cutoffs. While some states require a child of a household to be a minor, others qualify children as dependent adults who remain in their parent’s household for a few years after turning 18.
Furthermore, some states are more vague when defining an emergency. In order to receive emergency financial assistance, make sure to contact your state’s TANF office. You may be able to complete the application online, in person or by mail.
Learn About TANF Requirements
To meet emergency TANF requirements, you must first meet the basic TANF requirements. This includes being a resident of your state and a U.S. citizen or legal non-citizen.
Additionally, there must be a pregnant woman or a child living in your home for you to be considered part of a needy family. Because TANF’s eligibility requirements are so vague, it is up to your state’s discretion to increase the income limit and age requirement of your child when determining eligibility for emergency financial assistance.
States typically determine their maximum income limits for each household size depending on the current Federal Poverty Level (FPL). While some states may take into account the value of your assets when determining whether you meet their definition of “needy,” others may choose not to. Additionally, some states may choose to disregard certain earnings when determining whether a household qualifies for financial assistance.
Find Out About Required Documentation
When applying for emergency TANF assistance, you should expect to provide your local TANF office with various documentations of proof similar to when completing the application process for TANF in general. This will include a form of identification, your Social Security Number (SSN) and proof of address.
Accepted evidence of address typically includes your apartment or home lease and a utility bill. You will also be required to provide proof of your income to ensure that it does not exceed the program’s income limits.
Sources of income must also include any government assistance programs you receive benefits from. If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you must include proof of these benefits when applying for emergency financial assistance. You will also need to provide financial documents that list your household expenses. Monthly expenses may include hospital bills and the cost of child care. To receive money assistance, you will need to provide evidence of your emergency crisis. A utility disconnection notice or eviction notice should suffice.