Temporary Assistance for Needy Families [TANF]

Last Updated:

As the name of the welfare program clearly indicates, it is aimed at providing temporary cash assistance for families deemed needy. Those getting approved for benefits will be issued cash assistance in the form of Electronic Benefits Transfer card – EBT. The card would work just like a debit card and can be used to manage everyday expenses. The amount of benefits you will get approved for will depend on income, family size and other factors. Families applying for monetary help might also be able to qualify for childcare assistance, food stamps and a few other programs. The case worker at your local social services office will be able to guide you through all available programs and inform you of the necessary documents required to apply.

Important requirements to be met:

1. you must be an American citizen or eligible non citizen and a resident in the state where you are currently applying for TANF,

2. the income requirements – as already stated, income guidelines vary by state . Check out your state’s DHS official web site for information on exact requirements. Note that not just the household income is considered to determine your eligibility but also the assets you own. Documents will be required by the case worker at social services to prove income and assets you claim during the application.

3. Keep in mind that this program is targeted to improve the financial situation of the families who fall under the low-income category and have dependent children. Individuals will not be eligible to apply.

Contacting your local TANF office:

The name of this program also varies from state to state. You can find the full list of names by state below:


Getting a job after getting assistance is crucial

One of the requirements happens to be crucial, for violating it will lead to termination of benefits. The crucial requirement is that you must be working on gaining employment if you are currently unemployed. Remember that this is only a TEMPORARY assistance program. Those being given monetary help are expected to raise their financial position by constantly putting efforts towards employment. The state can terminate the benefits received if the applicant is found to be not complying with the same. If you are having a hard time finding a job despite consistent efforts, look into job skills training programs to see if they can assist you.

Assistance for dealing with a crisis:

Although a lot of people are well informed about the welfare programs in their state, many do not know that they can also get a hand at times of crisis. In case you lost a job suddenly or are not able to meet the expenses demanded by a medical emergency, this emergency assistance will be a godsend. The amount of assistance you will be offered is 1000 USD, and this kind of crisis assistance can only be obtained once in every 12 month period. Lastly, the requirements that need to met in order to become eligible are just the same as those set for receiving TANF for families. Those in dire need of emergency assistance are suggested to contact social services to know more on the same.

HHS provides a long list of these types of short-term benefits and the states in which they are offered in the page here:HHS link

What you need to remember is that some states offer financial support for a particular kind of emergency while others might offer a hand for a different kind of crisis. Call the local DHS office in your area to ascertain the availability of emergency assistance in your state.

As a single mother, handling emergencies all by yourself can be hard and overwhelming. This is all the more reason to prepare yourself for possible future crisis situations. Although doing so might appear paranoid, the truth of the matter is that it is better to equip yourself preemptively than to find yourself in crisis down the road. Preparation through putting an emergency fund in place and having a support system around you are just two of the possibilities. Connect with the local single mothers, or join a support group to mingle with other like-minded moms. In addition to having a financial support system, having emotional support from the outside can make a world of difference at times of great need.

17 Responses

  1. SingleMomTN says:

    What do you do when you’ve struggled for so many years and there really isn’t any help? I’m a single mother of 4, I am going to school online, I have no family, no friends and no support system and I don’t own a car. I get section 8 and recieve $126 in utility help but my bills are anywhere between $250-$350 a month.We’ve gone without water and electric before, longest time was 3 weeks.My kids haven’t celebrated any holiday or birthdays in along time, I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs and never recieve that phone call back and getting help from my childrens father isn’t possible.My kids probably won’t see a christmas this year either unless theres a miracle. I’ve debated whether or not giving them up is the best choice for them. I desperately try everyday to remain optimistic and hope a miracle happens. I am at the end of that rope…Where do I turn for help? Any advice?

    • Shanequah says:

      I dont know about finacial help but as far as Christmas goes try to sign up at agencies like the Salvation Army they help families with food and Christmas toys and clothing they’ll even help pay a utility bill I dont know about your religion or faith but sometimes churches will help out its members as well

  2. Tina Majeski says:

    I am a single mom of a 14 year old girl . I am in recovery and i have a year clean . I am currently recieving holistic treatment for me and my daughter . We are both victims of abuse and domestic violence . Things have improved alot in a year with my relationship with my daughter . I will go to any length to get her the help she needs . She is a very intelegent beautiful girl with alot of self esteem and self worth issues . Also carries alot of shame that is not hers to begin with . We are working on rebuilding her self worth . I want the unhealthy cycle to stop with her and she is working hard as well as i am . I will be going to Columbus State in the fall to procede in a career in health care . She will be a freshmen in high school . She will be attending Wetstone High in Columbus , Ohio . She has a extreem overbite and has a complex about her smile and the way her teeth look . We currently have Caresource insurance but they will not pay braces . She has three of the five criterias that would allow them to pay for the braces . She does not want to go to high school without braces . I mean obviously she will go . I just wish she could feel more at ease . She wants the braces and has for years . I can’t afford them . My credit is not good . If there is anyone who can help or knows of any grants or organizations . Please contact me at 614-252-6270 . Or majeskitlm@aol.com . Thank You .

  3. khadija KENYA says:

    I am a kenyan single mother of five months pregnant and five years old boy,living in a poverty life in one room house,no job,no food sometimes,my worry is my kids future,i need somebody who can support me financial to start business for my kids future,please help me,i waited your positive response.


  4. Kate says:

    I am a single mother of two small children. I work full time and barely make ends meet. Our dream is to buy a house of our own. Even just a little one. The divorce left me with poor credit and it will take some time to rebuild. Their father, my ex, is mentally ill unfortunately and cannot hold a job and does not pay any child support. Anyone know of any home buying assistance for a single mom with a steady job? We live in Belfast Maine. Thank you.

  5. luisa says:

    iam a single mom of 3. i send them school and thru this i was indulge in a big debt. i almost kill myself, no ways to pay debtor back. is there any means or someone could help me, please. iam from philippines. thank you.

  6. chrustal says:

    I am a single mother of a 11yr old girl I have taken care of her all her life . I was blessed to have a good job then about three years ago I got hurt and had to have surgery on my back . I have tried to return to work and it only lasted for about 3 months now im back off of work looking at more surgery. I feel like I have not been able to take care of her the way she should her sperm donor has not paid child support since she was like 18 months old the state want do nothing they take him to court he don’t show it is like I have been fighting a up hill battle trying to get any help you go to job and family services for help and they treat you like you are dirt I have only applied for assistance 3 time in my whole life and once was when I was pregnant with my daughter . I thought that job and family services was suppose to help people but it seems like they only want to make it as hard as they can on you. Sometimes it feels like everything I try to do falls apart and it depresses me esspecially when I look into my daughters eyes.

  7. Areather Lewis says:

    My name is Areather and I live in Dallas,Tx . I think this website is awesome! My husband would love this site. He does financial repositioning and has a special program for working moms in Texas that allows them to reach their full income potential via (one on one) webinars. I know he would love to help.

  8. Rachel says:

    My name is Rachel, I am a single mother of a 9 year old daughter. I have never needed help before and was a hairstylist at a local salon. I made good money and could pay my bills due to a horrific car accident involving a drunk driver I shattered my heel and can no longer due the job I loved. I have been applying and am looking for a job in human resources or secretarial. Tho I do not have much experience in this, I do have ,my fingers crossed and hope someone will give me a chance. My daughters father does not help physically or financially and I due receive TANF right now which isn’t very much. I have a vehicle that can get me around to apply to jobs but my car is not in a good condition at all. If anyone knows of a organization that could help me get my car fixed please let me know. Thank you!!

  9. juliette scott says:

    my name is Juliette Scott,i’m desperately in need of financial assistance, I’ve been driving out of school because i couldn’t afford to pay my school fees,and i am almost at the peak to finish my LPN Program to become a nurse,i am presently reside in the USA AND also with my 5 year old son. i cant go back unless i pay the past due amount i have to pay.

  10. Paige says:

    i am a young single mother of a precious little boy, and i am in desperate need of financial help. i am about $1800 dollars in debt thanks to my ex, and i am currently unemployed and my car is slowly breaking down, and i am soon to be homeless. I have $70 to my name, and i have no idea what to do ! HELP !! PLEASEEE!!

    -Thank You

    • Christi says:

      Did you find help? If so could you give me any advice? I’m currently in a similar situation. My son and I will be homeless in less than a week.

  11. Anita Douglas says:

    i am Douglas Anita by name i am pleading with the general public that they should please assist me financially, my husband left home march 26 2011 and till this very moment i haven’t set my eyes on him, my children responsibility has been my burden since then please do this for God do not think you are doing it for me you are doing it for God and i believe that as you assist me financially the good Lord will intervene in your own matter too, no amount is too small even if it is a token you have and you want to contribute just do it for God so we can have something to live on ecause we are really starving and as for those who do not have and you are touched by my expression i know that the good Lord that i serve will answer your prayer in the capability of the Lords ability thank you very much for taking time to read my message God too will take his time on your case in Jesus name Amen you can contact me via this e-mail douglasanita82@yahoo.com thank you very much.

    • amber says:

      hi well i got pregnant when i was 18 and my ex left me hes doesnt care about anyone but himself, and ive been through more heck than most people beleave. well my son is now almost 4 months and hes my everything. ok well heres what i know to help, they’re foodstamps, medicade, tanf, and social sacurity for the disable people who have a medicale problem and cant work, theres also a cherity web site just for cars. what i typed in was free cars that work and you have to register and i know you’re going to have tp wait a little bit, but its also not officale if you are going to get one. im also pretty sure they can help with cars that are slowly breaking down too. theres also housing athority which im on and is great, i only pay 25$ a month water is free and have an alowance for gas and electric and what ever i go over i just pay for that not the whole bill. my son and i are also on medicade and foodstamps and just finished doing the requierments for the tanf. oh and for single moms who are going to school there are grants for that there are also pell grants for school too. god bless all.

  12. britney says:

    I am a single mother of two children one at the age of five and one at the age of eight. We are currently trying o figure out where i is we will be living and when it will be stable. We are currently living under my mothers ruff which we will be soon evicted from due o her not puting ren number one priorty she has plans to move in with her boyfriend then we are stuck to figure things out for ourselfs i am 24 years old i recieve foodstamps and child support. I do not have a car no job and im going to have to take my son out of schooldue to being out of district and the other school has not got a spot open for him. Before coming here we lived in a sheltor for abused woman and children and for two years now i have worked several different jobs and moved from place to place being put out by my abuser and unexplainable reasons! I am scared and tired. I wan so badly o get an education job and for me o be able to provide my children with a home they are my world and they deserve so much more than everybody turning there backs on us plz if only i could get the know how!

    • Lindojhonsinho says:

      Thank you for these comments, Anna. I am epsecially struck by your reminder that we need a more nuanced comparative lens than a reflexive that’s good, that’s bad evaluation, regardless of whether we would see U.S. social policies as falling on the good’ or bad’ side of that equation; without a political, economic, and social context in which to place those comparisons, they are worse than meaningless, because we can base our understanding on seriously misguided assessments. The point of such an analysis should be, I think, to both better understand others (and their points of view), but also ourselves, so that we can not only better identify where we might want to push for changes, but also to more effectively articulate our values and what we stand for, too. It sounds like you had some very valuable experiences through which to sharpen those skills growing up and, while not easy then, how wonderful that you learned those lessons at such a time in your life! Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply to admin Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *