The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF in North Dakota, is a program that provides cash assistance to eligible low-income families. This program was created with the intention of helping these low-income families move off public assistance by providing cash assistance. Often, people wonder, “What is TANF supposed to do to help?” The program aims to help recipients become financially independent and self-sufficient. North Dakota requires all capable adult applicants to participate in the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) as a supplement to TANF. By providing cash support and promoting job preparation, North Dakota offers families the opportunity to reduce their dependency on other assistance programs altogether.
TANF receives a majority of its funding from the federal government. Though this is a national program overseen by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), individual states have a large amount of freedom in how they implement TANF. North Dakota operates TANF at a local county level. Hopeful applicants can visit their county social services office to sign up for the TANF program.
Who qualifies for TANF in North Dakota?
Although anyone can apply for TANF, only households that meet the established eligibility criteria will receive assistance. One of the primary reasons TANF was instituted was to aid families with needy children. If a candidate is responsible for a child, then the candidate may be eligible if the child is:
- Living in a low-income household.
- Without sufficient parental support because of:
- Physical or mental disability.
- Continued absence from the home.
- Under age 18 or will graduate from high school by age 19.
Applicants who are pregnant may also be eligible for TANF benefits.
Note: Any applicant who is a fleeing fellow, on parole or a probation violator will be ineligible for any benefits from TANF. However, the children of these ineligible candidates may still be eligible to receive cash assistance.
North Dakota believes that anyone who receives cash assistance must be attempting to gain financial sufficiency on their own. Therefore, there are work requirements for this program. Most individuals who receive benefits are offered additional job assistance through the Job Opportunity and Basic Skills (JOBS) program. They are required to be involved in work or work-related activities to help them transition off TANF. In order to meet these TANF requirements, applicants must work for an average of 20 hours per week if they have a child younger than six, years of age and 30 hours per week if they do not. These requirements can vary as defined by the employability plan established by applicants and their JOBS contractors. Some of the individuals who are exempt from the work mandate include:
- A caretaker or parent older than 65.
- A caretaker or parent of a child younger than four months.
- Teens enrolled in school full time.
Learn more about qualifying for TANF in our comprehensive guide.
How to Apply for TANF in North Dakota
Residents of North Dakota who believe they may meet the requirements can submit a TANF application at their local county social service office. These applications can be printed online and submitted in person or completed at the social service office. Applications can also be completed and submitted entirely online. While applying online may be more convenient for you, the employees at the social service offices can answer any questions you may have about the program. The following information is necessary in order to meet TANF requirements:
- Proof of citizenship status or legal presence.
- Proof of the value of current assets.
- Proof of most current expenses.
- Proof of most current income (last month and this month).
- Proof of other information, such as:
- Social Security Numbers (SSNs).
- Verification of pregnancy.
While program members are in the first four months of TANF eligibility, they will not receive their portion of benefits unless they meet the work participation requirements. Benefits will still be distributed for the children in the household during this period.
Learn more about applying to TANF in our in-depth guide.
How much cash assistance will I receive in North Dakota?
Since there are many factors that are considered when determining your benefits, there is no simple TANF benefits calculator. The local DSS will calculate benefit amounts based on information such as who lives with a family, who is eligible for assistance in the household and other forms of income available to the family. Some other factors that can be used in determining TANF eligibility include allowable work expenses and any child care expenses. Furthermore, TANF beneficiaries are required to participate in work or work-related activities to receive any TANF benefits. In North Dakota, a family of three may receive $486 per month.
Note: All maximum monthly cash assistance benefits are subject to change as determined by local Departments of Social Services (DSS).
How long does it take to get TANF benefits in North Dakota?
Typically, a TANF application takes a maximum of 30 days to process. Approved applicants can expect to see benefits within 30 days of submitting their applications. Benefits will be issued after applications are approved and processed. However, adults in the household will not receive their portion of benefits until they meet all of the requirements of JOBS. For ongoing TANF cases, benefits are received on the first business day of the month.
How long can you receive TANF in North Dakota?
Once your household has been approved for TANF benefits, you may receive assistance for up to 60 months. Any household that includes an adult who received TANF assistance for a total of 60 months will be prohibited from receiving further aid. The 60-month limit is determined by an eligibility staff that reviews the months that are countable for TANF benefits since July 1, 1997. There are certain circumstances that qualify as exceptions to this limit. However, these circumstances are determined on a case-by-case basis.
How can I check my TANF status in North Dakota?
Any participant of TANF in North Dakota can complete a review/monthly report to determine their status for receiving cash assistance. Visiting a local Department of Human Services is also an option for beneficiaries. Additionally, by visiting in person, participants can receive personalized service and ask questions directly to employees.