“What is TANF in Texas?” is a common question for residents in need of financial assistance. TANF in Texas offers cash assistance to low income families to help them afford food, utilities, transportation and more. The program is in place to support struggling families on the way to self-sufficiency and requires that all TANF beneficiaries meet child care standards by attending parenting classes and complete other tasks for the welfare of the child or children. When receiving benefits, adult applicants must also attend training for work or search for employment.
This assistance program has a limited lifetime limit, although you should review information about TANF extensions to see if you or a family member is eligible for additional benefits. If you are interested in TANF benefits for children in your family, read below to learn more about the program, including the types of assistance and some of the TANF eligibility requirements.
Who qualifies for TANF in Texas?
Before completing a TANF application, families must earn less than the maximum monthly income limit and care for one or more children younger than 18 years of age. Benefits are only available to applicants who are United States citizens or have an eligible noncitizen status.
Families may enroll for ongoing cash help in Texas or a one-time TANF payment. Texas classifies TANF eligible families as:
- Parents and their children.
- Relatives caring for someone else’s child.
To qualify for TANF, a representative of the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (HHSC) will judge the applicant’s total income and the value of any property owned against the family’s monthly expenses. Families that meet requirements for Child Only TANF status might be able to waive the work and class requirements imposed on standard TANF families.
Some families in Texas can also apply to the program for a single $1,000 payment. These families are considered “in crisis” and have to meet the same eligibility standards as all other families who apply. Grandparents who qualify for the one-time payment, however, have a different set of requirements.
How to Apply for TANF in Texas
The easiest way to apply for TANF in Texas is through the website for Texas benefits. Documents downloaded from the web portal may be submitted online or faxed to the Texas HHSC office. The user portal also allows beneficiaries to upload their documents straight to the website instead of being required to conduct an in-person interview.
Once an HHSC employee verifies that applicants meet the TANF eligibility requirements, candidates must do an interview with a HHSC employee, but this TANF interview process can be done over the phone. If a candidate is strained for time, there is no requirement to complete the application in person. However, those who prefer to submit the application in person or questions about the process can have the option to visit a HHSC in their county to ask for help in qualifying for TANF. For more information about how to apply for TANF in your state, download our guide.
How much cash assistance will I get in Texas?
The amount of assistance applicants can receive is determined by multiple TANF qualification factors. Texas distributes TANF benefits by family size, the number of caretakers in the family and whether the family is collecting child-only benefits. The range of available cash payments in Texas starts around $100 p per month at its lowest value and just over $400 a month at its highest. These numbers are calculated for families that have one to five members and zero to two caretakers. If your family count is higher than five, your TANF cash help will raise an additional amount per month for each additional member of the family.
If there is an error in your TANF grant and you receive an overpayment, you may ask “Do I have to pay back TANF ?” The HHSC will demand full repayment of the overcharge amount but will never require payment for standard grants. If you are granted an overpayment, report it through the website and refund the amount to the HHSC. Fraudulent TANF claims can result in disqualification from the program and other consequences.
How long does it take to get TANF benefits in Texas?
The Texas EBT system uses the Lone Star Card to distribute TANF and SNAP benefits. This assistance is distributed once a month. Payments will be added directly to a TANF member’s Lone Star Card if they have one already, or a loaded card will be shipped in the mail after eligibility is approved.
The last number in an applicant’s TANF number will reflect the day of the month they receive assistance. The TANF case number with determine what day of the month benefits are released. There are restrictions on the use of TANF benefits, but recipients will not lose benefits if they do not use them in the same month.
How long can you receive TANF in Texas?
TANF beneficiaries may receive benefits for 12, 24 or 36 months in the state of Texas. Texas HHSC will begin counting months the first month after a candidate qualified for 12 or 24 months has been notified of their TANF qualification approval. For applicants qualified for 36 months, the count will begin one year after they are notified of their eligibility.
Texans who exhaust their allotted months are barred from applying for cash assistance for the next five years. Additionally, the months of TANF assistance accepted in Texas will count towards the federal time limit of 60 months in a lifetime if the beneficiary moves to another state.
How can I check my TANF status in Texas
You can check your status through the same website used for the TANF online application. The Your Texas Benefits website can also be used to apply for new benefits or manage your accounts. Registered user can upload important documents to the portal, update their information accordingly or view bills and payments. Also, beneficiaries of programs like Medicaid or SNAP can also use this portal to track all of their support services in one place.
For more information about how to apply for TANF in your state, download our free guide.