TANF in Iowa, also referred to as the Family Investment Program (FIP), is Iowa’s primary cash assistance program that is designed to provide temporary financial aid to needy families that meet the program’s eligibility requirements. When asking, “What is TANF?” it is important to know that the program not only provides cash assistance, but works with a family in becoming more economically self-sufficient through work-related requirement and training opportunities. Ultimately, the goal of TANF is to assist families in rising out of poverty and becoming self-sufficient where the need for assistance is not necessary.
Therefore, before submitting a TANF application, it is worth learning more about the program, including eligibility requirements and potential benefit amount. TANF benefits are determined by several factors, including family size and income. However, a family may only receive benefits for a set period of time. This length of time is a lifetime time limit that is applied to any adult receiving assistance.
Who qualifies for TANF in Iowa?
Before you apply for TANF in Iowa, it is recommended that you review the eligibility requirements that you and your family must meet in order to receive assistance through the Family Investment Program. TANF eligibility requirements have been set by the Iowa Department of Human Services, falling within established guidelines that have been set by the federal government.
To meet TANF qualifications in Iowa, you must meet familial makeup, citizenship, residency and income related requirements. TANF can only provide assistance to families that have at least one child under the age of 18 years old living within the home. This child must also be attending school if he or she is of school age, and up to date on vaccination schedules. If there is no eligible child living within the home, a family will not be considered eligible for TANF.
To be considered eligible for TANF in Iowa, you and your family must be U.S. citizens or lawful residents as well as residents of the state of Iowa. As stated previously, TANF strives to assist needy families while supporting self-sufficiency. Therefore, you must meet income and resource related eligibility requirements before FIP assistance can be provided.
If found eligible for TANF benefits in Iowa, you will be required to work with your local office and meet any work and training related requirements that they may ask of you. As stated previously, the goal of TANF is to assist you and your family in becoming self-sufficient and permanently rising out of poverty levels. To learn more about requirements for TANF, download our guide.
How to Apply for TANF in Iowa
TANF in Iowa can be applied for both online or by visiting your local DHS office to complete an application in person. After submitting an IA TANF application, you will need to provide your local office with documentation that will verify and support the information that you provided on your application. This information includes, but is not limited to:
- Proof of income for all family members.
- Proof of identity for all family members.
- Proof of Social Security numbers for all family members.
- Proof of household expenses for all family members.
Once your TANF application has been submitted, your local office will contact you to schedule an eligibility interview. The interview will be conducted by a case worker who is assigned to your family’s case. If the case worker informs you of additional documentation that is needed in order to process your application, it is very important that you comply with documentation requests in a timely manner. Your case worker can also answer any questions related to your TANF application that you may have as well as determine whether or not your family is eligible to receive benefits and the benefit amount that your family may receive.
How much cash assistance will I get in Iowa?
Iowa TANF benefits by family size refers to the maximum amount of benefits that your family may be eligible for, depending on the size of your family. For example, a family of five will have a higher maximum benefit amount when compared to a family size of three. In addition to reviewing family size, your case worker will also consider your family’s current income and applicable household expenses.
If found eligible for TANF in Iowa, your decision letter will include the amount of benefits that your household can expect to receive as well as the date that benefits will be distributed onto the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card that is provided to you.
If you are wondering, “Do you have to pay back TANF in Iowa?” then it is important to know that benefits need only be repaid if your family receives more benefits than the amount that your family is eligible to receive. While this can, at times, happen due to a system error, it is more commonly due to fraudulent information provided on an original application or the failure to report changes to a family that would affect benefits. To learn more about benefit amounts, download our free guide.
How long does it take to get TANF benefits in Iowa?
When submitting your TANF application in Iowa, it is very important that you comply with any requests made by your local office, including participating in your eligibility interview and providing any documentation that is needed to complete the process of your application. By complying with your local office in a timely manner, you can expedite your application and receive a decision regarding your family’s eligibility for TANF and potential benefit amount far sooner.
Once you begin to receive TANF benefits, you can expect to receive your benefits on the same date of the month each month for the period of time that your family is participating in the Family Investment Program.
How long can you receive TANF in Iowa?
TANF in Iowa can be received for a maximum of 5 years before an individual will no longer be considered eligible for the program. This 5 year limit only applies to adults who are at least 18 years old, as minor children are not affected by the time limit. The 5 year limit is a lifetime limit. This means that once you have received assistance from TANF for a 5 year period, you will no longer be able to receive assistance for the remainder of your lifetime. Beneficiary months do not have to be consecutive.
How can I check my TANF status in Iowa?
After submitting a TANF application in Iowa, the case worker that is assigned to your family will be your best method of reviewing the status of your application. However, if you have questions regarding your application and you are unable to reach your case worker by phone, you may also contact your local DHS office either by phone or in person to check the status of your application.