TANF in Arkansas, also referred to as the Transitional Employment Assistance (TEA) program, is the state’s primary cash assistance program that provides aid to needy families throughout the state. In order to fully understand, “What is TANF?” it is important to not only review the benefits that the program can provide, but also how long a family may remain eligible to receive assistance from the TEA program. TANF is a federally funded program, although benefits, eligibility requirements and application methods are determined by the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS).
Before submitting a TANF application, you are strongly encouraged to review the eligibility requirements associated with TEA in order to determine whether or not you and your family may qualify to receive benefits. If eligible, then TANF benefits amounts are determined by factors such as family size, income and applicable household expenses. However, benefits can only be provided to a family for a set period of time.
Who qualifies for TANF in Arkansas?
Before you apply for TEA in Arkansas, it is important to familiarize yourself with the TANF eligibility requirements that must be met in order to receive assistance. TANF eligibility requirements include:
- In order to receive TEA benefits, you must be either a United States citizen or a legal resident of the country.
- Arkansas residency. Arkansas TEA is designed to assist state residents that meet eligibility requirements. Therefore, if you do not live within Arkansas, then you will need to apply for your own state’s TANF program.
- Family makeup. TANF cash assistance is only available to families that have at least one minor child living within the home. This child must be younger than 18 years of age, up to date on vaccination schedules and attending school (if the appropriate age). Families that do not have children are ineligible for TANF.
- Low to very low income. The Transitional Employment Assistance program is designed to help the neediest families within the state. Therefore, you must have low to very low income in order to be considered for benefits.
To continue to meet TANF qualifications once you begin to receive assistance from TEA, you will be required to fully cooperate with your local DHS office, including participating in work- and training-related requirements each week. Should you fail to cooperate with your local office, your benefits may be reduced or stopped altogether.
How to Apply for TANF in Arkansas
TANF in Arkansas can be applied for in a number of ways. You can take advantage of the Arkansas TANF calculator online in order to see whether or not you and your family may qualify for benefits, and if you are eligible, then submit an online application. Alternatively, you can also complete your application in person or submit an application by mail.
Learn more about how to apply for TANF benefits by downloading our free comprehensive guide.
You can find a TANF application online or you may contact your local DHS office by phone or mail to request that a paper application be sent to your residence. Once you have applied for TANF, it is important to provide your local DHS office with documentation that will be needed in order to finish processing your application. Requested documentation includes:
- A Social Security Number or proof of an application for a Social Security Number.
- Documentation of legal alien status for any non-citizen within a home who is applying for benefits.
- Proof of identity.
- Proof of residency.
- Proof of income for all household members.
- Proof of value of resources, such as bank accounts, certificates of deposits, stocks or bonds.
- Proof of child, child’s age and proof of the child’s relationship to you.
After you apply for TANF in Arkansas, you will be required to complete an interview with a caseworker that will be assigned to your family. This interview will help DHS assess your family’s eligibility for the program, determine whether or not additional documentation must be submitted and determine how much you will receive in TANF benefits for you and your family.
How much cash assistance will I get in Arkansas?
If asking, “Do you have to pay back TANF in Arkansas?” then it is worth knowing that benefits do not generally need to be repaid. However, an overpayment of benefits can occur if you falsify information on your initial application or if you fail to report changes to your household in a timely manner. In rare cases, a system error may cause an overpayment to occur. If you receive an overpayment of TANF benefits, then you will be required to repay the portion of benefits that your family received but was not eligible for, regardless of why an overpayment was made.
TANF benefits by family size is a primary factor when determining the amount of benefits that a family may be eligible to receive in Arkansas. The maximum amount of benefits that can be provided to a family on a monthly basis will be determined by the size of the family. However, family income and applicable household expenses are also taken into consideration when determining beneficiary amounts.
How long does it take to get TANF benefits in Arkansas?
If you have applied for TANF in Arkansas, then you may be wondering when you can expect to receive a decision regarding your application as well as how benefits are distributed to beneficiaries. Generally, TANF applications are processed within 30 days from the date that you submitted your application. However, a delay in processing your application can occur if you are unable to provide your local office with requested documentation in a timely manner. Therefore, it is imperative that you provide your local DHS office with any requested information or documentation as soon as possible.
If you are wondering, “When will I receive my TANF benefits?” or “What time does TANF deposit funds into my account?” then be aware that benefits are distributed on the same day each month, regardless of holidays or weekends, through the use of an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. This card will be provided to you once you have been determined to be eligible for benefits. Used similarly to a debit card, EBT cards can be utilized at authorized ATMs and point of sale terminals.
How long can you receive TANF in Arkansas?
TANF in Arkansas can be received for a maximum of 24 months. This is a lifetime limit for adults who are 18 years of age and older. Beneficiary months need not be consecutive in order to count against the maximum amount of benefits an individual can receive. Once you have received 24 beneficiary months, you will no longer be eligible to receive assistance through TEA.
How can I check my TANF status in Arkansas?
After you submit a TANF application in Arkansas, your primary point of contact with your local DHS office will be the caseworker that is assigned to you and your family. Your caseworker can answer any question related to TANF as well as check the status of your application. If more documentation is needed in order to fully process your application, then your caseworker will notify you. If you are not able to reach your caseworker, then you may also contact your local DHS office when inquiring about the status of your application.
Download our detailed guide to learn more about this federally funded program.