Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, otherwise known as TANF in Minnesota, is handled by the state Department of Human Services (DHS). Every state receives federal funds for TANF, but each is responsible for running the program to best serve local residents. Those wondering “What is TANF in Minnesota?” should be aware that it is a cash assistance program, and benefits for the program come through the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP). This program also operates in conjunction with the Divisionary Work Program (DWP).
The MFIP seeks to support families by providing employment services through the DWP, as well as temporary cash assistance to those in need. In order to do so, every resident has a right to submit a TANF application at any time through the DHS. However, only applicants who meet other requirements can receive benefits through the program.
Who qualifies for TANF in Minnesota?
Based on TANF eligibility requirements, MFIP assistance is limited to pregnant women and families with children. The most important factor that determines applicant eligibility is personal funds. In order to receive benefits, applicants cannot exceed the income or asset limit for their household size. Overall, applicants must fulfill the following requirements to enroll in MFIP:
- Pass the income test. This is based on calculated earned and unearned income.
- Have allocated assets below the maximum limit.
- Submit the necessary verification documents for local residency and citizenship or legal non-citizenship.
Another major part of TANF qualifications in MN is participating in the workforce. In order to maintain your eligibility, you must work or attempt to find work while you are enrolled. You can also elect to participate in work training programs in preparation for re-entering the workforce. Though maintaining a job will affect your calculated income amount, it is still possible to receive benefits. This is because the Minnesota TANF calculator includes certain deductions for working applicants. To learn more about the basics of TANF, download our helpful guide.
How to Apply for TANF in Minnesota
Before submitting a TANF application, residents in need of cash assistance are usually directed toward the Divisionary Work Program (DWP) first. This four-month program aims to help families obtain work quickly without relying on MFIP benefits. After that, if you are still in need of financial assistance, you continue the MFIP application process for TANF benefits.
Applications are accepted in person at your local DHS office. When searching for the term “TANF office near me” online, you will find locations in counties throughout the state. With this option, you can either download and print a form online or fill one out during your visit. On this same form, you can also apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at the same time.
Alternately, you can choose to submit a TANF online application through the MFIP portal. Either way, once you submit your application, there are a few other steps you need to complete. Additional MFIP requirements include the following:
- Complete a verification interview.
- Meet with a job counselor to outline your employment plan.
- Attend an MFIP orientation.
How much cash assistance will I get in Minnesota?
The DHS issues TANF benefits by family size, income and allocated assets. However, to encourage recipients to find stable work while enrolled in the MFIP, a certain amount of monthly wages are deducted from the income calculation. Families receiving child support may also receive a deduction each month, allowing them to potentially qualify for more benefits. Other considerations are also made for certain assets. For example, each household member who is at least 16 years of age is permitted to have a personal vehicle that does not count toward the asset limit.
The answer to “How much money do you get from TANF?” is also affected if you choose not to work. your benefit amount is significantly reduced if you are not working. In fact, if you still have not found work after seven months with the program, your benefits are subject to cancellation. Exceptions may be granted for cases including but not limited to the following:
- You have a newborn baby.
- You are dealing with a serious physical or mental illness.
- You are facing other personal challenges, such as violence in the family.
If you are wondering “Do you have to pay back TANF?” there is no need to worry. MFIP benefits are considered a grant and therefore do not require repayment. However, keep in mind that there are limits to what you can purchase with these benefits.
How long does it take to get TANF benefits in Minnesota?
Concerning the question “What time does TANF deposit my benefits?” the answer varies by application. Once you submit your application, the DHS must verify your eligibility in order to distribute benefits. As soon as you are deemed eligible, your payments can begin. In fact, you may even be eligible for retroactive benefits up to the date of your application submission. According to MFIP regulations, retroactive benefits must be issued as soon as the case is approved. Then, regular monthly benefit payments begin.
Once you are approved, your benefits are issued to your EBT card on a monthly basis using a payment schedule. This schedule is based on the last digit of the TANF number issued to your case. Odd- and even-numbered cases receive their benefits on different days, but generally all benefits arrive at the end of the previous month.
How long can you receive TANF in Minnesota?
After asking, “When will I receive my TANF benefits?” you must also consider how long your eligibility for these benefits will last. Since TANF is a temporary cash assistance program, there is a limit to how long you can remain enrolled in the program. In order to pause this time limit clock and save your benefits for future need, you can elect to give up the cash portion of the benefits. This option allows you to continue receiving other assistance through the program without using up all of your benefits.
In general, as long as your income remains within TANF income limits, you can receive MFIP benefits for up to 60 months. After that, you are no longer eligible for any benefits through the TANF program. However, the MFIP may offer benefit extensions for hardship cases. In the event that you face an eligible hardship, you may be able to receive benefits past the 60-month limit. For more information on extending your TANF benefits, download our comprehensive guide.
How can I check my TANF status in Minnesota
You can stay up to date on your TANF payment schedule and eligibility status by creating an online account through the DHS. Through the online program, you can submit your application, monitor your benefits and even apply for other forms of government assistance. In order to utilize this tool, you must create your own account. To do this, you will need to supply personal information such as your name and local address.