The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, or TANF, in Massachusetts is overseen by the Department of Transitional Assistance. While TANF is federally funded, each state is responsible for the operation of its own program. As a result, “What is TANF in MA?” is a common question among residents seeking temporary financial assistance to support their families. In the state, TANF is known as Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC).
The TAFDC program aims to support long-term financial self-sufficiency for families throughout the state. In order to submit a TANF application, you must meet certain eligibility requirements, including income limits. Once you are approved for the program, you can receive access to financial benefits as well as health insurance and employment assistance. While TAFDC assistance is generally temporary, it is possible to extend these benefits under certain circumstances.
Who qualifies for TANF in Massachusetts?
TANF benefits are available to qualifying residents throughout the state. During the application process, applicant eligibility is determined based on a few different factors. In order to qualify for TAFDC support, an applicant must be:
- A resident of Massachusetts.
- A U.S. citizen or legal non-citizen.
- Pregnant (and due to give birth within four months) OR the parent or guardian of a child younger than 18 years of age.
In addition to these requirements, you must also provide proof of low-income and experience underemployment or unemployment. The Massachusetts TANF calculator bases income limits on household size and the type of property you live in. You cannot include SSI recipients or foster children in your household size or income calculations. Teen parents must use the income of their parents to determine their eligibility. As part of your eligibility, you may also need to participate in a work program.
If you are wondering “Do you have to pay back TANF,” then be aware that the answer is typically no. However, if you are receiving child support, then you must turn over your right to child support funds to the DTA. This requires full cooperation with the Department of Revenue, which handles all child support cases. For more information about applying for TANF benefits, download our comprehensive guide.
How to Apply for TANF in Massachusetts
If you believe you are eligible for aid based on TANF income limits and other requirements, then you can submit an application to the DTA. In fact, the TAFDC supports your right to submit an application even if you appear ineligible for benefits. In order to apply, you must follow these basic steps:
- Fill out the TAFDC application form.
- Attend an initial interview as well as any additional interviews deemed necessary.
- Submit all necessary verification documents.
- Complete a job search screening.
- Attend a group benefit orientation.
If you are wondering “Is there a TANF office near me?” then the answer is most likely yes. TAFDC offices are located throughout the state for your convenience. In order to apply for benefits, you must submit an application in person at one of these offices. You cannot submit a TANF online application in MA at this time. However, you can go online to check the status of your application and view your benefit amount. Download our helpful guide to learn more about TANF interviews and application process.
How much cash assistance will I get in Massachusetts?
The DTA largely calculates how much applicants can receive in TANF benefits by family size and exemption status. For example, the maximum amount of benefits for a family of three is between $575 and $595 per month. In general, exempt beneficiaries without income can expect higher benefit amounts than nonexempt beneficiaries without income. Applicants must also have limited assets such as bank account funds and life insurance, though special considerations are made for personal vehicles.
For questions like, “How much money do you get from TANF in MA?” you also have to consider your current income amount. Any monthly income you receive is subtracted from your allotted benefit amount. This includes paychecks as well as alternative income, such as unemployment benefits. However, TAFDC encourages applicants to work or look for work while receiving assistance. For this reason, nonexempt applicants only have part of their monthly earnings subtracted from their benefits.
How long does it take to get TANF benefits in Massachusetts?
According to the TANF payment schedule in MA, applicants are able to receive benefits within approximately one month of applying. However, this timeframe depends on the submission of all necessary verification documents. To receive benefits in a timely manner, applicants must submit their documents within a certain period from the initial application date. Furthermore, applicants who fail to provide these documents within this timeframe are subject to denial.
If you are still wondering, “When will I receive my TANF benefits?” then you can check the status of your application online. It is also important to note that you can request to receive assistance sooner, under certain circumstances. You may be able to receive an advance on your benefits if you are in immediate need of shelter, food or medical assistance. In order to do so, make sure to notify your TAFDC caseworker when you submit your application.
How long can you receive TANF in Massachusetts?
The TAFDC program divides applicants into two categories; exempt and nonexempt. Whether applicants are considered exempt or nonexempt determines if they receive time-limited benefits. It also has effects on the amount of benefits they qualify for. Nonexempt applicants are those who are able to work, look for work or participate in a training program. Alternately, exempt applicants are those unable to pursue work due to disability or another qualifying reason.
Time-limited TANF benefits allow applicants to receive assistance for a maximum of 24 months within a five-year period. After that, they must wait for the five-year period to end before applying for benefits again. However, applicants can learn how to request an extension of benefits under qualifying circumstances, such as current enrollment in a training program. In the event that a nonexempt applicant becomes exempt, he or she does not need to wait to reapply.
How can I check my TANF status in Massachusetts?
In order to check on the status of your TAFDC application, the DTA provides a couple of online resources. This includes a website as well as a downloadable smartphone app. Using these tools, you can view important deadlines and notices about your benefit status. You can also answer questions like, “What time does TANF deposit?” by visiting your account.
To access your personal TAFDC information, you must set up an account using your email, Social Security Number (SSN) and other personal information. You can then set up an account page using the TANF number listed on your EBT card.