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Program Description

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides assistance to needy families with children to help foster economic security and stability. It does this for these families by funding monthly cash payments and a wide range of services, including those that promote job preparation, work, and marriage.

General Program Requirements

To qualify, a family must be needy as defined by the state. It must also consist of, at a minimum, a parent or relative caregiver living with a child (or a pregnant woman in her third trimester).

You and your qualified child must also be one of the following:

  • U.S. citizen or
  • Non-citizen national or qualified alien who has lived in the U.S. for at least five years. (Unless you are a refugee or other category of person who is exempt from the 5-year bar.)

Each states sets the following:

  • The criteria you must meet to get benefits and services.
  • The benefits and services it will provide.

Check with the TANF agency in your area to learn if you qualify.

Application Process

Visit the Help for Families page to get application information for your state, territory, or tribe.

Last Updated: 03/03/2020