To get TANF benefits, you and your family have to meet requirements. You and your family have to make less than a certain amount of money. Your kids have to be under a certain age, too.
There are special rules for work and school, too. If you don’t follow these rules, you will not get benefits. Learn about the different requirements to get TANF assistance below.
How old do you have to be to get TANF benefits?
Adults don’t have to meet age rules for their family to get TANF benefits, but there are age rules for kids. Kids have to be 18 or younger, or they have to be full-time high school students. For example, if your son or daughter is 19 but still in high school, then your family may still qualify for TANF benefits.
If you don’t have kids yet but are pregnant, you might still qualify for TANF benefits. Just keep in mind that different states have different rules. For example, in Alaska, you need to be seven months pregnant to get TANF benefits, and in Tennessee, you have to be six months pregnant.
Parents that are minors might qualify to get TANF benefits, too. This depends on the state. For example, some states won’t give benefits to minor parents who live on their own. You would have to live with your parents to get benefits.
What income rules do I have to follow to get TANF benefits?
TANF helps low-income families, which means your household has to meet income requirements to get benefits. You have to make less than a certain amount of money to qualify.
Different states have different income rules you have to follow to get benefits. For example, since it costs more to live in Hawaii than it does to live in Alabama, you can earn more if you are living in Hawaii instead of Alabama and still get benefits.
Income requirements can be different inside of a state, too. For example, you might be able to make more money in certain parts of California and still get TANF benefits because those areas of California are more expensive to live in.
If you are a teen parent, the amount of money that your parents and/or grandparents make can be factors that decide if you can get TANF benefits.
What am I allowed to own and still get TANF benefits?
The things you own, your assets, can also be factors that decide if you can get TANF benefits. Here are some examples of assets that the state office will look at to see if you can get benefits:
- Bank accounts
- Cars and other vehicles
- Houses and property
Different states have different rules for how many assets you can have and how much they can be worth. If you own a lot of assets that are valuable, you might not be able to get TANF assistance.
Not all 50 states have a specific dollar amount that you can have in assets. For example, in Alabama, you can have an unlimited amount of assets and still meet TANF requirements. As long as you meet the income requirements in Alabama, you may qualify for TANF.
Do I have to work to get TANF benefits?
If you are an adult, you have to follow the work rules in your state to get benefits. Different states have different rules for work. Some states ask you to join a work program as soon as you start getting TANF benefits. Other states will let you join a program up to 2 years after you start getting benefits.
Work programs give you the chance to take classes and they can help you get a job or get volunteering experience.
Every state has its own time requirements for the work program, too. If you do not follow these rules, your benefit amount can go down. If you do not follow the work rules in general, you might lose your TANF assistance.
Sometimes, you might not have to meet the work requirements. For example, if you are a single parent with a child who is 1 year old or younger, then you do not have to join a work program.
What other requirements do I have to meet to get benefits?
After you apply for TANF, a lot of states will ask you to follow some extra rules to keep your benefits. These are called “behavioral standards.”
An example of these rules is that your child has to go to school. He or she has to follow the school’s rules for attendance for your family to keep getting TANF benefits. If not, your benefit amount can go down or you could lose your benefits.