TANF in Louisiana, also referred to as the Family Independence Temporary Assistance (FITAP), is the primary financial assistance program within the state. If you are wondering, “What is TANF?” then it is important to know that the program provides cash assistance to needy families who are well below the federal poverty line while working with these families to become more self-sufficient. The overall goal of FITAP is to reduce the long-term dependency that families have on welfare assistance while promoting work and job training. Therefore, there are limitations on the amount of time that a family can receive assistance through TANF.
Before submitting a TANF application, it is important to review eligibility requirements for the FITAP program as these requirements must all be met before assistance can be provided to a family. By reviewing TANF benefit amounts, you will know what to expect in terms of the amount of assistance that your family may be able to receive, if eligible for the program, as well as the length of time that benefits can be distributed to a family.
Who qualifies for TANF in Louisiana?
If you would like to apply for TANF in Louisiana, then you are strongly encouraged to first review the eligibility requirements of the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program prior to submitting an application. By reviewing requirements, you will know what to expect of the program and you may be able to determine whether or not you and your family are eligible for assistance.
Louisiana TANF eligibility requirements include family makeup, immunizations, residency, citizenship, income, child support enforcement and a variety of tasks that adults within the family must be willing to complete in order to continue to remain eligible for the program. To meet TANF qualifications:
- You must have a minor, dependent child within the home. In order for a minor child living within the home to be considered eligible, the child must be younger than 18 years of age. Children who are 18 years of age may be considered eligible if enrolled fulltime in a secondary school or in the equivalent level for technical or vocational school. Families who do not have a child within the home will not be eligible for TANF assistance.
- Children within the home must be immunized. You will be required to provide evidence of immunity or immunization against diseases that are preventable through vaccinations, according to the Office of Public Health schedule, for each child younger than 18 years of age.
- You must be a Louisiana resident. You and your family must reside within Louisiana to receive aid from the Family Independent Temporary Assistance Program.
- You must be a citizen or a legal noncitizen. Undocumented noncitizens have never been able to receive assistance through TANF. Additionally, each family member must be able to provide a valid Social Security Number.
- You must have low to very low income. TANF is designed to aid the neediest of families in Louisiana and, therefore, you must be well below the federal poverty line in order to receive assistance from this program. If earnings are more than the TANF income limits, then petitioners will not qualify for assistance.
- Cooperate with Child Support Enforcement. You will be required to assign any child support or medical support rights to the state. Additionally, you will be required to cooperate with the agency in establishing paternity and obtaining that support from absent parents, unless there is a good cause not to.
After you begin to receive TANF benefits, adults within the home will be required to complete a number of tasks in order to remain eligible for FITAP. If you are currently pregnant or you have a child who is younger than one, then you will be required to attend parenting skills training. As part of the TANF eligibility requirements, all applicants who are 18 years of age and older must also comply with drug screening when required. Finally, TANF supports work and, therefore, all adult applicants, unless exempt, will be required to participate in the STEP program, which will aid in a family finding work and becoming self-sufficient.
How to Apply for TANF in Louisiana
To submit a TANF application in Louisiana, you may create an online account and apply online or you may also download and complete an application and return that application to your local office by mail, by fax or in person. If you do not have access to a printer, then you can also visit your local office and obtain an application in person.
After you apply for TANF in Louisiana, you will be notified of the documentation that you must submit in order to continue your application process. Documentation that may be requested include, but is not limited to:
- Proof of identity for all family members within the household.
- Proof of income for all family members within the household.
- Immunization records for children younger than 18 years of age.
- Proof of applicable household expenses, such as shelter costs.
- Proof of Social Security Number for all family members within the household.
To learn more about how to apply for TANF, download our free comprehensive guide.
How much cash assistance will I get in Louisiana?
If eligible for TANF in Louisiana, then it is worth knowing that your benefit amount will be determined when your process your application. Maximum benefit amounts are determined by family size and income, but there are several deductibles from income that a family may be eligible for.
TANF benefits do not generally need to be repaid within the state. However, should you ever receive an overpayment of benefits, your family will be required to repay any amount of benefits that the family was not eligible to receive. This scenario can most commonly occur if fraudulent information was provided on an initial application or if a family fails to report changes to the family that may affect benefits.
How long does it take to get TANF benefits in Louisiana?
After you submit your TANF application in Louisiana, your local office will generally reach a decision regarding your family’s eligibility for TANF and potential benefit amount within 30 days from the date of your application. However, if you do not provide all of the documentation that is needed to complete your application, then this process will take a larger amount of time.
Once approved, TANF benefits are distributed to electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards within the first five days of the month. Benefits will always be provided to a recipient on the same date of each month, regardless of holidays or weekends.
How long can you receive TANF in Louisiana?
Now that you know, “What is TANF in Louisiana?” it is important to review how long your family may be eligible for benefits through FITAP if approved. Time limits are separated by the number of parents that live within the household. If both parents are in a household, then the family will have a 24-month (two years) limit to how long benefits can be received. If only one parent or caretaker is in the home, then that limit is extended to 60 months (five years).
However, once an adult beneficiary has received 60 months of TANF assistance, that individual will not be eligible for TANF for the remainder of his or her lifetime. While applicants may be able to appeal TANF denial decisions initially, participants will not be able to request additional funds after they have reached their maximum limit.
How can I check my TANF status in Louisiana?
After submitting a TANF application in Louisiana, you can contact your local office by phone or in person at any time during normal business hours to inquire about the status of your application. As mentioned previously, it is very important that you cooperate with your local office to the best of your ability and that you provide any requested documentation in a timely manner in order to expedite your application process.
Learn more about this federally funded program by downloading our detailed guide.