You may ask, “What is TANF in DC?” when researching federally funded cash assistance programs. TANF in DC provides cash benefits from the Department of Human Services to applicants who are eligible. Washington D.C. gives TANF grants to families that are looking for work, recovering from an illness or going to school.
TANF believes that protecting children means allowing parents to care for them in their own home. To promote self-sufficiency, TANF provides cash help for low-income families for basic necessities like clothes and child care. It also offers education and employment resources to prepare parents for the workforce and connect them to jobs.
Who qualifies for TANF in Washington D.C.?
The TANF application determines eligibility by family size, income and asset value. To qualify for TANF in Washington D.C., a candidate must:
- Be pregnant or care for at least one child younger than 19 years of age.
- Live in Washington D.C.
- Be a United States citizen or legal noncitizen.
- Have low or very low income.
After submitting the application, eligible families will be asked to do a placement interview to verify their qualifications. To be eligible for TANF benefits, applicants must also complete:
- An orientation. The orientation is an introduction to the program and explains the new and continual eligibility requirements to receive TANF.
- An assessment. Participants will meet with a DHS employee to assess the strengths the candidate has to contribute to the workforce.
- An Individual Responsibility Plan. The IRP is an agreement between the participant and a DHS specialist that lists goals, career interest and the steps needed to achieve self-sufficiency.
If a family fails to complete any of these steps, then they will not be considered qualified to claim assistance.
How to Apply for TANF in Washington D.C.
You cannot apply for TANF online in Washington D.C., but the application is available for download from the Department of Human Services website. The form must be completed, signed and dated before being submitted to the Economic Security Administration (ESA). The papers can be submitted by mail, faxed or delivered in person to the ESA office in your county.
In Washington D.C., the application for TANF benefits is a combined form. The combination application includes other government assistance programs like food stamps and Medicaid. Families who meet TANF eligibility requirements are automatically eligible for the other two programs. Low-income families should fill out the application for all three services to maximize the benefits they may be able to collect.
Candidates will be required to do eligibility interviews for TANF and SNAP even if they use the combined application. To make the interview process as efficient as possible, it is suggested that applicants gather proof of their:
- C. residency
- Citizenship or immigration
- Social Security Number
- Living situation
If candidates meet these TANF qualifications, then they will be contacted after the interviews to arrange their orientation and assessment. Learn more about applying to TANF in D.C. by downloading our detailed guide.
How much cash assistance will I get in Washington D.C.?
Most applicants want to know, “How much money do you get from TANF?” and “Do you have to pay back TANF after you receive benefits from the program?” Families that meet the qualifications will be authorized for benefits based on family size and income. The DHS will use a Washington DC TANF calculator to subtract the family’s income from the maximum possible grant. The remaining value will determine the cash grant the family can claim.
Cash assistance has risen consistently in D.C. over the last few years, and maximum benefits for a family of three is up to $644 per month in 2019 from $441 per month in 2016. The amount of maximum possible benefits rises about $100 for each additional family member.
In addition to TANF grant amounts, D.C. also offers monetary bonuses for achievement. A family will earn benefit bonuses as the participants complete education and employment milestones that are part of the Individual Responsibility Plan.
How long does it take to get TANF benefits in Washington D.C.?
The DHS makes eligibility decisions on TANF applications within 45 days. Decisions on food stamps applications are made within 30 days, and decisions on Medicaid applications are also made within 45 days. Eligibility decisions may be delayed by as much as 10 days if any information is missing from the initial applications.
TANF participants in D.C. are required to renew their TANF application each year. The renewal notice will be sent 45 days before the official renewal date. Families who do not complete their renewal in the allotted time will not be able to claim TANF assistance the following year. One of the reasons families must reapply every year is that D.C. calculates TANF benefits by family size, and any change in family status will change the benefit amount.
How long can you receive TANF in Washington D.C.?
Starting in 2018, D.C. has eliminated the time limit on the TANF program. They are the only district in the nation that will allow a family to collect assistance for longer than 60 months. TANF grants are available for eligible families in D.C. no matter how long the family has been collecting benefits.
However, if the beneficiary has claimed more than 60 months of assistance, then he or she will not be eligible for TANF in any other state if they move. D.C. will not count months of assistance in other states against D.C. residents who apply for TANF.
With the time limit removed, applicants may claim assistance in D.C. as long as they meet the TANF income limits and have a child younger than 19 years of age.
How can I check my TANF status in Washington D.C.?
To check your application status or ask any questions about TANF, SNAP or Medicaid, contact the DHS call center. The call line can be used to check your status, report changed information or ask about a delay in your TANF payment schedule. You will need the TANF number for your case and proof of your identity to access the private details of your account.
Learn about the federally funded cash assistance program by downloading our detailed guide.