TANF in Indiana is the state’s primary cash assistance program that provides temporary financial assistance to needy families who are well below the federal poverty line. When asking “What is TANF?” it is important to review the program’s potential benefits, how long a family can receive these benefits, how benefits are distributed to eligible families and the eligibility requirements that must be met in to receive assistance through TANF. TANF is not simply a financial assistance program because TANF promotes work and works with families to become self-sufficient.
Before completing a TANF application, it is worth reviewing these eligibility requirements and benefits. Benefits and eligibility will ultimately be determined by a case worker that will be assigned to you and your family. Nevertheless, by learning more about the program, you can better prepare yourself for the application process as well as know what to expect in terms of eligibility and benefit amount.
Who qualifies for TANF in Indiana?
Before you apply for TANF in Indiana, it is worth reviewing the eligibility requirements that must be met before a family can begin to receive cash assistance. TANF eligibility requirements have been determined by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration within the established guidelines that have been set by the federal government. Therefore, the Indiana TANF program may be unique in comparison to TANF programs in other states.
To meet TANF qualifications, there must be a minor child who is under the age of 18 living with you in the home. If there is not a minor child living in the home, a family will not be considered eligible for assistance, regardless of whether or not the family meets the other eligibility requirements. In addition to meeting family makeup requirements, each member of the family must be either a United States citizen or a legal resident as well as a resident of the state of Indiana.
TANF benefits can only be provided to families that meet income related guidelines as TANF only provides assistance to the neediest of families. Therefore, the income limits are set well below federal poverty lines. In addition to income limits, there are also asset and resource limits.
TANF in Indiana promotes work and self-sufficiency and therefore will work with a family to set work related goals that can help a family achieve that self-sufficiency. In order to continue to be considered eligible for TANF, a family must work towards those goals. Refusing to do so could mean the loss of benefits. In addition to meeting goals, applicable adults will be required to complete employment and training programs, attend Applicant Job Search Orientation and complete 20 days of Applicant Job Search activities.
How to Apply for TANF in Indiana
If interested in TANF in Indiana, you may submit an application online, by fax or in person at your local DFR office. When submitting a TANF application, it is important to remember to include documentation that will be required in order to complete the processing of your application, including, but not limited to:
- Proof of identification for all family members.
- Proof of Social Security Number for all family members.
- Proof of income for all family members.
- Proof of citizenship or lawful residence for all family members.
After you apply for TANF in Indiana, your local office will schedule a TANF interview with you to determine eligibility. This interview will be conducted by a case worker that is assigned to your family. Not only will you receive additional information about the program, but the case worker will inform you as to whether or not additional documentation is required in order to process your application. If you fail to participate in your TANF eligibility interview, you and your family may be denied benefits.
For more information about how to apply for TANF, download our guide.
How much cash assistance will I get in Indiana?
Indiana TANF benefits by family size is the primary way that the state determines a benefit amount once a family has been deemed eligible for assistance. Therefore, larger families have a larger maximum amount of assistance that could potentially be provided. However, benefits are not only determined by family size. Your local office will also consider your family’s income and applicable expenses when determining benefit amounts.
If you are wondering, “Do you have to pay back TANF?” it is important to know that, generally, benefits do not need to be repaid. However, in the event of an overpayment of benefits, your family will be required to repay any benefits that your family was not entitled to. This can happen due to system errors, but it is not typically an issue. More commonly, overpayments occur when a family provides fraudulent information on an initial application or fails to report any changes to the household in a timely manner.
How long does it take to get TANF benefits in Indiana?
A decision on Indiana TANF benefits and eligibility will be made within 60 days from the date that you submit your application, unless there is a valid reason that prevents the DFR from making a decision on your case. Therefore, it is important that you cooperate with your local office and case worker fully during your application process, including providing any additional documentation that may be required in a timely manner.
How long can you receive TANF in Indiana?
TANF in Indiana can be received for a maximum period of 60 months (five years). This is a lifetime limit that applies to all adults who are receiving assistance, but not to children who are under the age of 18. The 60 months of TANF benefits do not have to be consecutive in order to count against the lifetime limit and it is worth knowing that beneficiary months received from another state’s TANF program will also count against the 60 month limit. Once an individual has received 60 months of assistance through the TANF program, that individual will no longer be eligible to receive assistance for the remainder of his or her lifetime.
How can I check my TANF status in Indiana?
After you have submitted your TANF application in Indiana, your primary point of contact will be the case worker that is assigned to your family. This worker can be reached by phone and can provide you the most accurate information regarding the status of your application. However, if you cannot reach your case worker, you may also contact your local office in person or over the phone. For more information about how to apply for TANF, download our guide.