TANF in Virginia is a type of assistance designed to help families with temporary finical assistance. The program provides cash assistance to families so that children can be cared for in their own home. This program also offers support services to prepare parents for the workforce. Applicants must follow program requirements, which can include signing up for employment programs and updating household information as needed.
TANF is available for needy families, but an assistance program exists for children who do not live with their parents. If you need assistance have asked, “What is TANF?” you can continue reading the sections below for more about the Temporary Assistance to Needy Family program offered by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Who qualifies for TANF in Virginia?
Those seeking to benefit from this program can submit a TANF application manually or take a cash assistance eligibility screening online. For the best chance of being accepted, candidates should familiarize themselves with the qualifications ahead of time. Virginia follows the federal eligibility guidelines with only a few state-specific requirements. To qualify for TANF benefits in Virginia, applicants must:
- Be United States citizens or eligible noncitizens.
- Care for a child younger than 18 years of age.
- Be state residents.
- Regularly attend school if they are of school age.
- Earn less per month than the state income limit.
The TANF eligibility requirements are slightly different for TANF Child Only. The child only option is for children who live with a relative that is not their parent or children who need benefits and whose parents are ineligible. For a child to benefit from TANF, he or she must:
- Be younger than 18 years of age.
- Live with a legally recognized relative.
- Live in Virginia.
- Have an income less than the income limits.
- Regularly attend school.
Children or families that meet all requirements are qualified to sign up for TANF in Virginia.
How to Apply for TANF in Virginia
The Virginia CommonHelp website offers an online screening of the TANF eligibility requirements and an online application. After registering for an account with your email address, name, phone number and a variety of security questions, you can access all benefits applications in Virginia including SNAP, Medicaid and other government assistance programs.
To receive an application by mail, candidates can call the Department of Social Services in their county and request an application be mailed to their home address. Also, a candidate could visit the DSS office in person to fill out an application on the spot and ask any questions they may have about the application process.
To complete the application, you will have to report income, expenses and the identities of all family members. If a caseworker determines that you meet TANF qualifications, the DSS will set up an interview to judge your family’s suitability and verify all reported information. To complete your TANF interview process, you will need to prepare the right documents, including:
- Proof that children ages 5 to 18 are attending school regularly.
- Immunization records for all children.
- Proof of permanent address and that the children lives with the family.
- Birth certificates and Social Security cards for all citizen members of the family, or proof of immigration status.
- Recent paystubs or bank statements to verify income.
- A completed application.
For more information about how to apply for TANF in your state, download our guide.
How much cash assistance will I get in Virginia?
Virginia has basic need standards determined by family size, and the TANF cash help amount will be based on the family size, income and expenses. Cash offers will be calculated to cover the gap between the family earning and the basic need standard. First-time beneficiaries might have key questions about their cash payments, including:
- Do you have to pay back TANF?
TANF is a federal service that provides help for needy families, and TANF beneficiaries do not incur any debt. Additionally, there is no charge to apply. There is only one occasion on which a TANF grantee would be required to pay back a grant value. If the DSS issues an overpayment of more than $35 dollars, the recipient is required to report the error and return the full value of the overpayment. If the recipient does not return the overpayment amount, it will be subtracted from his or her benefits the following month.
- What time does TANF deposit in my bank account?
Standard TANF payments are deposited on the first day of every month to cover the family’s needs. The first month of payments, however, may be issued as a partial month. Recipients will be given a reduced cash amount for their first grant based on how many days are left in that month.
The state of Virginia determines TANF benefits by family size, and any changes to family status must be reported to the DSS. The addition of a child to the family might change your cash assistance value or fall under the jurisdiction of Child Support Services.
How long does it take to get TANF benefits in Virginia?
After your approval, you might ask, “When will I receive my TANF benefits?” Benefits are authorized on the same day your application is approved, but cash assistance may be distributed a few days after approval.
The payment schedule will depend on how you choose to receive your TANF grant. Virginia distributes cash amounts in three ways:
- Direct Deposit.
- Mailed checks.
- A state-issued debit card.
Direct deposits to a bank or state card will be issued to the recipient’s account the one business day after his or her status approval. Checks will be issued three business days after application approval. When necessary, applicants can also get information about emergency TANF funds and begin a claim if they make the proper reports to the DSS.
How long can you receive TANF in Virginia?
Even a family that meets the state TANF income limits can only claim assistance in Virginia for 24 months. An individual who exhausts the allotted months can reapply to receive cash help again after a 24 month waiting period. All months of assistance collected in Virginia count towards the federal lifetime total of 60 months.
Virginia counts the first month benefits are distributed as number one in the 24-month limit, even if the first month is only a partial month. There are potential extension and exemptions for those who can claim good cause.
How can I check my TANF status in Virginia?
A status check is available through the same help website used to submit the TANF online application. If you do not register for an account through the website, you can call the local DSS to ask about your TANF application status. Online or by phone, you will need to provide your Social Security Number or TANF number for a DSS employee to access your case. For more information about how to apply for TANF in your state, download our guide.