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TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families explained

Low income families throughout the U.S. are eligible for different types of assistance, including TANF.

TANF stands for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

This funding helps with job prep support, work assistance and child care.

The main goal of the Office of Family Assistance is to help families with children keep the kids cared for in their own homes or in homes of relatives.


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TANF explained

While the funding for this program comes from the federal government, the state governments run the program, similarly to food stamps.

In order to be eligible you must be a resident of the state you apply in, a U.S. citizen, or legal alien.

You must be unemployed or underemployed.

The household income but be low.

Families must have a child under age 18, be pregnant, or the head of household must be 18 or under.


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Applying for TANF

You must find your local TANF program in your state so you can apply.

You can find your local office here.

Your application and payments will be handled by local officials.

Depending on your state, you may be able to apply online, in person, by mail, or over the phone.

2.6 million people benefitted from TANF benefits in 2020.

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