TANF in Colorado, also called Colorado Works and known nationally as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, is designed to provide temporary cash assistance to low-income families. It also aims to help these families achieve self-sufficiency. In order to answer, “What is TANF?” it is important to review essential program details, including the benefits that a family may be eligible to receive, how long the family may access this assistance, when the benefits become available and how to apply for the Colorado Works program.
A TANF application can be submitted online or in person, but before submitting an application, it is important to learn more about TANF eligibility requirements in order to determine whether or not you and your family may be eligible to receive assistance. TANF benefits amounts are determined primarily by family income and size. However, benefits can be reduced if any family member is no longer considered eligible for assistance, such as in the case of failing to meet work program requirements.
Who qualifies for TANF in Colorado?
Before you apply for TANF benefits in Colorado, it is worth reviewing the eligibility requirements for Colorado Works. TANF eligibility requirements include residency, citizenship, family makeup and income requirements. In order to apply for Colorado Works, you and your family must be residents of Colorado, and you may not be receiving assistance from another state’s TANF program.
Note: Get details about qualifying for TANF in our in-depth guide.
To meet TANF qualifications, there must be at least one dependent child living within the home who is younger than 18 years of age. Families that do not have an eligible child under the age of 18 cannot receive assistance from Colorado Works, regardless of whether or not the family meets other eligibility criteria. Furthermore, each family member must be a U.S. national, a citizen, a legal alien or a permanent resident in order to qualify.
TANF benefits are designed to assist families with significantly low income. Therefore, the income limits for Colorado Works are far below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). In addition to income limits, you must not have more assets or resources than Colorado Works limits allow.
There is no Colorado TANF calculator that can be used to determine whether or not you may be eligible for assistance prior to submitting an application at this time. Therefore, if you are unsure whether or not your family will qualify for Colorado Works, it is recommended that you submit an application.
How to Apply for TANF in Colorado
TANF in Colorado can be applied for both online and in person at local offices. If you apply for TANF online, it is worth knowing that you must still provide the necessary documentation to complete your Colorado Works application, and this may require that you go to a local office in person. After your application has been processed, your local office will contact you to schedule an eligibility interview. This interview must be completed in order to remain potentially eligible for cash assistance.
Alongside your TANF application, you must be able to provide documentation for each household member, such as:
- Proof of identity, such as with drivers licenses, identification cards, resident cards and U.S. passports
- Proof of Social Security Numbers (SSNs)
- Proof of all income
- Proof of any non-work income, such as unemployment or child support payments
- Proof of any household expenses, including child care, child support paid, rent, mortgage and utilities
- Proof of pregnancy, if applicable
TANF benefits cannot be provided to families that do not meet documentation requirements. Therefore, it is important to comply with any requests made by Colorado Works and turn in documentation as soon as possible.
How much cash assistance will I get in Colorado?
The question, “Do you have to pay back TANF in Colorado?” is a common one. Fortunately, most applicants who receive assistance from Colorado Works will not be required to pay back benefits. However, if you receive an overpayment that you do not report, if you provide false information on your application that may affect your eligibility or benefit amount, or if you fail to report changes to your household that may affect your family’s Colorado Works benefits, you will be required to repay some of the benefits that you received. The amount of TANF benefits that would need to be repaid will equal the amount of benefits that your family received but was not eligible for.
TANF benefits by family size may vary depending on several factors. However, the amount of benefits that an eligible family receives is based on the number of eligible household members, as well as the household’s income. Therefore, it is crucial that you report any changes to your household, such as the addition or loss of a household member or any change in income.
Learn more about TANF payouts in our comprehensive guide.
How long does it take to get TANF benefits in Colorado?
If you are wondering, “When will I receive my TANF benefits in Colorado?” it is important to know that the Colorado Works program will have up to 45 days from the date that you complete the TANF application process and required documentation to make a decision regarding your case. Once your application has been approved, you will learn the date that you can expect to receive benefits each month, as well as your household’s benefit amount. If your application is denied, you will have the right to an appeal.
TANF benefits are provided to eligible families through deposits on an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card, and benefits will become available on the same day each month. Benefits that have not been used the previous month will be carried over to the new month. An EBT card can be used like a debit card at authorized point-of-sale terminals and ATMs. However, you cannot use your EBT card in restricted locations, such as liquor stores, tobacco shops, adult entertainment locations, gambling establishments and more.
How long can you receive TANF in Colorado?
So long as you continue to meet TANF income limits and other eligibility requirements in Colorado, you and your family may continue to receive benefits until you meet the national TANF limit. TANF benefits may only be received for a maximum period of five years, which does not need to be consecutive if you are an adult. This limit does not apply to children who are younger than 18 years of age. This five-year limit will include any TANF benefits that were received in other states. Once you have met this five-year limit, you will be unable to receive additional benefits at any other point.
How can I check my TANF status in Colorado?
After submitting an application for TANF in Colorado, you may check the status of your application online or by contacting your local county office in person or by phone. As stated previously, you may not receive your determination within the 45-day limit if you have not yet successfully completed your application and provided your local office with all of the documentation that is deemed necessary to complete your Colorado Works application.