“What is TANF in West Virginia?” is a common question for residents of the state seeking financial assistance. WV Works is the program name for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in the state. This short-term, work-based program provides cash assistance and educational resources for at-risk families. Applicants have a maximum lifetime limit for benefits, even if they received in another state.
Even federal programs vary by state, so states can have slightly different TANF eligibility requirements. West Virginia also offers benefits for children only, not for parents and children in the household. To learn more about the specifics of West Virginia Works, applicants can read more to learn the requirements and benefits of the program.
Who qualifies for TANF in West Virginia?
A TANF application will collect as much information as possible to gauge your eligibility for cash help. This information will include income, citizenship and identity information.
While anyone can file an application at no charge, cash benefits will only be approved for qualified families. West Virginia requires that beneficiaries of TANF:
- Care for at least one child 18 years old or younger.
- Be a West Virginia resident.
- Be a citizen or eligible immigrant.
- Meet state income requirements.
- Do not own assets over $2,000 in value, excluding the value of one vehicle.
Families who qualify for TANF benefits are automatically qualified to receive food stamps. Applicants should make sure to ask the Department of Health and Human Services for a SNAP application after receiving approval for WV Works.
How to Apply for TANF in West Virginia
You can apply for TANF through the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services. It is possible to apply online through the DHHR website or by contacting the human services office in your county. Candidates can visit the office in person to ask for assistance with their forms or ask that the application be mailed to their home address for convenience.
Even if you meet the TANF eligibility requirements in West Virginia, you still have to meet the work requirements after you are approved. Before you can collect benefits, you will have to:
- Create and sign a Personal Responsibility Contract. This plan is a list of activities that you agree to do to get a job and complete TANF work requirements. Don’t be worried about getting locked into the original agreement if your needs change. The PRC is a flexible document, and you can contact your family support specialist to change it. This contract is also the agreement that the DHHR will help with the things you need to find a job, including books, clothes or transportation.
- Complete a program orientation. Your family support specialist will schedule you for a WV Works orientation to introduce you to the program. If family members fail to complete this orientation, you can be denied benefits.
- Go to school or have a GED. Underage parents are required to attend school or have their GED in order to claim WV Works benefits. They are also required to live with a legal relative who is older than the age of 19 years.
Once your family has been officially authorized and you have begun claiming benefits, there will be additional requirements. To maintain your TANF grant, you must:
- Spend six weeks of every 12 months searching for a job.
- Accept any offered job. Beneficiaries cannot refuse a job offered to them or quit without good cause.
- Work at least 25 hours a week after 24 months of benefits. Failure to do so means your case can be closed.
Some TANF beneficiaries are exempt from the work requirements. Reasons a family might be exempt can include disability, the beneficiary is in school or child care is unavailable.
For more information about how to apply for TANF in your state, download our guide.
How much cash assistance will I get in West Virginia?
West Virginia determines cash assistance by family size and income. There is no approved West Virginia TANF Calculator as caseworkers use a detailed set of calculations to decide the aid amount a family is eligible to receive. The grant is meant to cover the gap between the family income and West Virginia’s basic need standards.
First-time beneficiaries should address any questions they have about their benefits. Any misuse of grants can result in a sanction about the family, and multiple sanctions may result in a denial of assistance. Two popular questions are:
- Do you have to pay back TANF?
WV Works is part of the TANF federal program to provide help for low-income families. Recipients are not billed for the assistance they collect through the program and do not owe the state or national government for the cash grants they accept. In the event of overpayment, recipients must report the excess funds and repay the amount in the conditions determined by the department.
- What time does TANF deposit?
TANF benefits are electronically deposited to the recipient’s bank account or EBT card. Benefits are loaded on the food stamps card on the first day of the month or will be released to the bank on the first business day of the month.
West Virginia calculates TANF benefits by family size, so your family may be subject to a reassessment every year.
How long does it take to get TANF benefits in West Virginia?
After completing your orientation, ask your case manager “When will I receive my benefits?” Cash assistance should be granted within a few days of authorization, but a DHHR employee will be able to tell you if there are any remaining complications in your case.
A case manager will conduct a home visit in the first 45 days after you collect assistance to assess that your family is using the cash assistance for the purposes intended. Any fraudulent or incorrect claims can cause your benefit amount to be reduced or eliminated.
How long can you receive TANF in West Virginia?
Recipients of WV Works can collect cash assistance for the federal limit of 60 months as long as they continue to meet the TANF income limits. The limit set by the national government is a lifetime limit, and applications will not be able to claim TANF assistance again after five years. Some applicants may be eligible for extended TANF benefits, but they must meet additional requirements.
The exception to the time limit is the TANF Child Only policy. Relatives who collect TANF for children who live with them but are not their own children can claim the child only option. There is no limit to how long a child on the Child Only TANF plan can benefit from assistance. In this plan, the adult relative cannot use or claim assistance for themselves.
Children whose parents benefit from TANF will still be eligible to apply as adults. The 60-month limit is counted against adult beneficiaries, and children whose parents claimed benefits can still claim benefits when they become parents. This is not true in all states, so applicants who benefitted from TANF when they were children themselves should ask their family support specialist about their state’s specific policy.
If your TANF payment schedule is disrupted before you have met your limit, you can appeal to the DHHR for an appeal to restore grants.
How can I check my TANF status in West Virginia?
There are two easy ways to check the status of your WV Works application. You can review your TANF online application through the InRoads website run by the WV DHHR or you can call the DHHR in your county to speak to someone directly. In both cases, you will need your TANF number on hand in order for the case manager to access your account details. For more information about how to apply for TANF in your state, download our guide.