If you are wondering, “What is TANF?” then it may be because you are looking for a way to receive financial assistance. TANF in New Jersey, known as WorkFirst NJ (WFNJ), provides temporary cash assistance and other services to families in need. The purpose of the program is to provide your family with a bright future and secure employment.
To become a part of WFNJ, you must apply for TANF. You apply to enter the program by completing a TANF application. The application allows the Department of Human Services (DHS) to understand the type and amount of TANF benefits your family needs. The sections below will provide you with information on the requirements you need to meet to be eligible, how to apply, check your application status and much more.
Who qualifies for TANF in New Jersey?
There are many TANF qualifications families must meet in order to collect benefits. The state will determine who is eligible for TANF based on the information given in the application. TANF eligibility requirements include:
- Meeting specific income eligibility requirements that New Jersey has in place.
- Living in New Jersey.
- Being a U.S. citizen or a qualified immigrant, whose documents allow them to remain in the U.S. permanently.
- Age, such as:
- Eligible parents must have a dependent child who is younger than 18 years of age.
- Children can be younger than 19 years of age if he or she is a full-time student in a secondary school.
- The children are completing a vocational or technical training and will finish the program before turning 19 years of age.
- Children are 21 years of age or younger and are enrolled in a special education program.
When you enter the program, there are other TANF eligibility requirements you must obey, such as work requirements. If you are receiving TANF benefits, then you must participate in employment and work readiness activates. The work you complete needs the approval of your local DHS office. Also, if you do not attend your work activities, then the program has the ability to lessen the amount of TANF money you collect each month.
Note: WFNJ does not provide cash assistance to pregnant women who do have other children or families that do not meet any of the TANF qualifications listed above.
How to Apply for TANF in New Jersey
New Jersey provides families with the opportunity to complete a TANF online application. If you do not have internet access or simply wish to use another method, then you can apply for TANF in person at your local DHS.
Once you submit your TANF application, you are required to complete a TANF interview. The interview will be in person. You will need to provide proof of all the information you filled out on your TANF application, such as your family’s income. For details on how to apply for TANF benefits, download our informative guide.
How much cash assistance will I get in New Jersey?
“How much money do you get from TANF?” is a question many applicants have because they are trying to create a budget. There are many factors that go into determining the amount of cash assistance you will receive, such as your family’s income. For example, if there are two families that contain four individuals, then the household that has a greater income will receive less TANF cash benefits. Additionally, New Jersey determines TANF benefits by family size. For instance, a family of eight will receive more TANF money than a family of three with the same circumstances. For more information on the amount of financial assistance participants can receive, download our comprehensive guide.
How long does it take to get TANF benefits in New Jersey?
If you are wondering, “When will I receive TANF benefits?” then it may be because you need immediate assistance. It is important to understand that it depends on you and the situation your family is in. To receive your TANF benefits as quickly as possible, you must submit your application properly. You need to make sure you complete all the sections of the application with accurate information. Additionally, you must provide proof of the information you filled out when you in for your interview. Not having the necessary items the day of your interview or forgetting to complete a section of TANF application will cause delays.
“Do you have to pay back TANF?” is a question many applicants have because they are unsure of how the program works. You do not have to pay back any of the benefits you received if you follow the program’s rules. However, if you receive a greater amount of benefit than you are supposed to, then you will have to repay the DHS. Also, if you report any changes that will affect the amount of benefits you can collect, then you must repay the state for the amount of extra money you collected.
How long can you receive TANF in New Jersey?
There are TANF income limits in the program. You are unable to receive WFNJ benefits for your entire life. The program has a 60-month limit.
When you find a job and go off welfare, your 60-month limit comes to a pause. For example, if you find a job and no longer need to collect TANF benefits when you are 50 months into the program, then you can use the 10 remaining months for a future emergency.
Additionally, if you are teen parent collecting TANF money, then the number of months you collect TANF benefits do not count towards your 60-month limit. WFNJ enforces the five-year limit when you are 18 years of age or older.
How can I check my TANF status in New Jersey?
When you complete a TANF online application, you have the ability to check your application status online. You check your status by logging into the account you created. If you submitted your application in person at your local DHS office, then you can call or visit the facility. The DHS agency will require you to provide proof of who you are, such as your Social Security Number and TANF number to check your status.