TANF in Montana is a government program that helps needy families. What is TANF? TANF stands for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. It provides cash assistance to families with children for a limited time. It also mandates certain work and child support requirements. To receive benefits, applicants must meet certain TANF eligibility requirements, such as Montana residency. However, there are disqualifying factors, such as certain felonies, that prevent otherwise eligible families from receiving benefits.
Montana offers several ways to apply for TANF, and the first step to finding out if you and your family can receive benefits is to fill out and submit a TANF application. Eligible families receive monthly payments in the form of direct deposits, checks or funds added to an EBT card. Households are ensured timely and regular payment every month for qualifying purchases. Any violation of TANF in Montana can result in heavy financial consequences as well as removal from the program.
Who qualifies for TANF in Montana?
The Human and Community Services Division (HCSD) determines who qualifies for TANF in Montana although it is a federally funded program. TANF benefits are reserved households with children. Other TANF qualifications include a maximum income, household size and certain extenuating circumstances. Assistance is available the following individuals:
- Children younger than 19 years of age
- Certain relatives that care for the children in the household
- Pregnant women in their last trimester who do not have any other children
- Refugees with minors
- Minor children’s siblings who live in the same household as the minor.
Montana calculates TANF benefits by family size, primarily. Families with larger households typically receive higher monthly TANF payments. However, eligible families must be within TANF income limits. A family of three must earn less than about $1,100 per month of gross income. In addition, a household’s resources cannot exceed a certain financial limit, although a home and basic essentials are excluded from this amount.
While many needy families are eligible for TANF benefits, certain factors disqualify otherwise eligible individuals. The following are some individuals who cannot receive TANF in Montana:
- Minors who have been absent from the household for more than 90 days
- Illegal aliens
- Felons who have violated their probation or parole
- Individuals who receive Social Security Income
How to Apply for TANF in Montana
If you want to apply for TANF, then you have several options. The TANF online application is easily accessible through Montana’s official state website. It offers a free assessment to determine if you are in fact eligible for assistance. The TANF application can also be acquired in person at a local Public Assistance office. You can send an email to the HCSD to receive a PDF version of the TANF application or call the Public Assistance office and a representative can mail one to you. While finances and household size are the most determining factors for receiving benefits, there is specific non-financial information that must be accurately provided including:
- Age of children in the household.
- Status of the minor as a dependent child of the caretaker.
- Social Security Numbers of all applicants.
- Montana residency.
- Citizenship or legal alien status.
- Cooperation with TANF work requirements.
- Cooperation with child services and payments.
Learn more about how to apply for TANF benefits by downloading our free comprehensive guide.
How much cash assistance will I get in Montana?
Residents who are not familiar with the TANF program wonder, “How much cash assistance will I get in Montana or, “How much money do you get from TANF?” The primary criteria for cash assistance are family size and income level. For example, the maximum benefit amount for a family of three is about $500 per month. A family of two will receive about $100 less, and larger family will receive $100 more. There is no Montana TANF calculator but the state does provide a basic chart of benefit amounts per family size and income.
The TANF payment schedule follows a monthly standard. Recipients receive their payments on the same date every month, whether it falls on a business day or a weekend. Those who have specific concerns about receiving TANF and have questions such as, “What time does TANF deposit?” and, “When will I receive my TANF benefits?” can contact their caseworker for details pertaining to their situation.
A big concern among applicants and recipients is, “Do you have to pay back TANF?” The answer is that you do not have to pay TANF back directly. The program is set up in such a way that you are essentially paying your TANF benefits back while you are in the program. This is accomplished through the work requirements as well as established child support payment and plans.
How long does it take to get TANF benefits in Montana?
For those asking, “How long does it take to get TANF benefits?” can rest assured knowing that government entities have time limits on how long they can spend reviewing and verifying applications. Most government programs are required to make a decision within 30 days. Accepted applicants for TANF in Montana should expect to begin receiving their benefits within two months of applying. They will receive their acceptance letter in the mail first. Afterward, they will receive their EBT card or first payment through direct deposit or mailed check.
How long can you receive TANF in Montana?
While TANF in Montana is a useful program for families, benefits are only given for a limited amount of time. The goal of the program is to encourage individuals to find and keep work so that they can support their family on their own. Thus, TANF benefits are awarded for at most 60 months. However, caretakers who have a mental illness, care for an ill family member fulltime or are in a domestic violence situation can potentially receive an extension on benefits.
How can I check my TANF status in Montana?
To check a TANF status, you can easily do so online through Montana’s online application portal. If you prefer to get more direct help, then you can use TANF number to speak with a TANF representative. You can also complete a “TANF office near me” search if you rather obtain assistance in person. To get more information about the TANF program, download our detailed guide.