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TANF Eligibility Requirements

In order to be determined eligible to receive TANF benefits, the following criteria must be met by the members of the assistance unit (family):

Age: A child must be less than 18 years of age (19 years if s/he is a full-time student).

Application for other benefits: A TANF applicant/recipient must apply for and accept other benefits (Unemployment Compensation, Workman’s Compensation, Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI), Child Support, etc) for which s/he may be eligible.

Citizenship: A recipient must be a citizen of the U.S. or a lawful resident alien.

Deprivation: A child must be deprived due to:

  1. Continued absence from the home of at least one parent
  2. Physical or mental incapacity of at least one parent
  3. Death of a parent

In a two parent family in which both parents are able-bodied, deprivation is established if one parent has a “recent connection to the workforce.”

Enumeration: All assistance unit members must have or apply for a Social Security number.

School Attendance: All children ages 6 through 17 who have not graduated from high school or who have not received a certificate of high school equivalency must attend school and have satisfactory attendance.

Immunization: All preschool children must be immunized.

Income: An assistance unit’s countable, net income must be below certain established limits that are adjusted for the number of persons in the AU. A family must meet the financial criteria to receive TANF. For example, a family of three (mother and two children) must have a gross income below $784 a month and countable assets of less than $1,000.

Lifetime Limits: Receipt of cash assistance is limited to 48 months in a lifetime. The limit may be extended if it is determined that an extension is justified due to certain hardships, including domestic violence and physical or mental incapacity.

Paternity: The AU must cooperate in the establishment of paternity. The paternity of a child must be established at application and whenever a child is added to an active case.

Work Requirement: All adult recipients have a work requirement, and are required to participate in work activities and training for at least 30 hours weekly. These work activities help recipients gain the experience needed to find a job and become self-sufficient.

Cooperation with Office of Child Support Services is a requirement for receiving TANF benefits.

Note: A family receiving TANF for ten months might not receive increased cash assistance for the birth of additional children.