TANF in Maine is the state’s primary cash assistance program that is funded by the federal government. If you are wondering, “What is TANF?” then it is worth knowing that the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program offers financial assistance to the neediest of families. Throughout the history of TANF, the program has focused on promoting work and working with a family to become more self-sufficient.
Before submitting a Maine TANF application, it is strongly recommended that you review eligibility requirements. TANF requirements include family makeup, income, citizenship, residency and the willingness to cooperate with the local office in work- and training-related activities. TANF benefits are determined when your application is processed and benefit amounts are based upon family size, income and applicable household expenses. In addition to learning about the benefits that the TANF program can provide, it is worth reviewing how long you can receive benefits within your lifetime.
Who qualifies for TANF in Maine?
Before you apply for TANF in Maine, you are strongly encouraged to learn more about the eligibility requirements that must be met in order to receive financial aid. TANF eligibility requirements include:
- Family makeup. In order to potentially receive assistance, there must be a minor child who is younger than 18 years of age living in the home. Children must also be up to date on vaccination schedules.
- In order to receive assistance from Maine TANF, you and your family must be living within the state. You cannot be receiving TANF assistance from Maine while in any other state.
- To receive TANF assistance, each family member within the home that is applying for assistance must be a United States citizen or a legal resident of the country.
- Income limits. TANF is designed to provide assistance to the neediest of families within the state and, therefore, you must have low to very low income.
Once TANF qualifications have been met, these qualifications must continue to be met while receiving benefits from the program. Additionally, adults within the home will be required to cooperate with their local Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) office on any work- or training-related requirements.
How to Apply for TANF in Maine
If interested in TANF in Maine, then it is important to review application methods that are available to you as well as what documents you are required to provide alongside your application. In Maine, you can submit a TANF application online, by mail, by fax or in person. Should you wish to apply by fax or by mail, you can obtain and download an application online or request an application from your local office.
When applying for TANF in Maine, you may be required to provide a number of documents that will support the information that you provide on your application. These potential documents include:
- Proof of identity.
- Proof of citizenship.
- Proof of Maine residency.
- Proof of earned and unearned income.
- Proof of available assets and resources.
- Proof of applicable household expenses.
- Proof of childcare expenses, when applicable.
Your TANF application must include documents for each member of your family that is living within your household and applying for assistance. Once your application has been submitted, your local office will contact you to schedule an eligibility interview with a caseworker who has been assigned to your family. It is imperative that you attend this interview, rescheduling if needed, as your benefits may be denied if you fail to participate in your interview.
Your TANF benefits eligibility will be reviewed within your interview as well as the amount of benefits your family may be eligible to receive. Your assigned caseworker can also answer any questions that you may have regarding the TANF program as well as notify you if additional documentation is needed in order to process your application.
Discover more about how to apply for TANF benefits by downloading our detailed guide.
How much cash assistance will I get in Maine?
If you receive TANF in Maine, then your benefit amount will be determined based upon the size of your household, your household’s income and applicable expenses, such as shelter and childcare costs. It is important that you report any changes to your household that may affect your benefits in a timely manner in order to avoid an overpayment of benefits.
If you are wondering, “Do you have to pay back TANF in Maine?” then it is important to know that benefits need only be repaid if a family receives an overpayment, benefits that the family is not eligible to receive. This can most commonly occur if a family fails to report a change to the household or if fraudulent information was provided on an initial application. Rarely, overpayments can also occur due to a system error, but the overpayment amount would still need to be repaid regardless of who or what was at fault for the overpayment.
How long does it take to get TANF benefits in Maine?
After submitting a TANF application in Maine, your local office will need to process your application and determine your family’s eligibility for TANF before benefits can be provided. In order to expedite this process, it is imperative that you cooperate with your local office and provide any requested documentation in a timely manner. You will receive a TANF denial or approval letter once a decision is made.
Once you begin to receive TANF benefits, you can expect to receive benefits on the same date of the month each month for as long as you will be receiving benefits. Your beneficiary date will be provided to you on your decision letter along with the amount of benefits that you can expect to receive. You will also be provided an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card, which can be used like a debit card at authorized ATMs and cash registers. Benefits will be deposited onto this card each month.
How long can you receive TANF in Maine?
If receiving TANF in Maine, then it is worth reviewing the maximum amount of time in which you and your family can receive benefits. In Maine, an adult beneficiary may only receive benefits for a total amount of 60 beneficiary months (five years). These months do not need to be consecutive and once you have reached the 60-month limit, you will be ineligible to receive any further benefits for the remainder of your lifetime. This limit does not apply to children who are younger than 18 years of age.
How can I check my TANF status in Maine?
After submitting a TANF online application or a paper copy, you may contact the caseworker who is assigned to your family by phone in order to check the status of your application and inquire as to whether or not any additional documentation must be submitted in order to process the application. If you are unable to reach your caseworker, then you may also contact your local office that is handling your application with questions regarding your application’s status.
To learn more about the TANF program and its benefits, download our free guide.