Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a government program, managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This program provides grant funds to states and territories to provide families with financial assistance and related support services. TANF provides states and territories with flexibility in operating programs designed to help low-income families with children achieve economic self-sufficiency. States use TANF to fund monthly cash assistance payments to low-income families with children, as well as a wide range of additional services.
This program does not directly offer cash assistance to individual citizens, but instead provides financial grants to states who use their TANF grants to fund monthly cash assistance payments to low income families with children. This monthly assistance aims to support needy families and end dependence cycles by promoting job preparation and work.
To be eligible for TANF, you must be a resident of the state in which you apply. Eligibility may vary slightly by state, but in general you must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or legally qualified alien. You must be unemployed or underemployed and have low or very low income. You must also be one of the following:
To quickly check you and your family’s Eligibility for TANF, visit the program page and take a quick questionnaire. To learn about more assistance programs that may help you and your family, use the Benefit Finder to check your eligibility for over 1,000 different benefit programs.
To find state benefit information on Benefits.gov, browse the Financial Assistance benefit category and filter by state to see benefits relevant in your state and find your TANF program. You can also use our Benefit Finder, a confidential online questionnaire, to check your eligibility for all benefits on Benefits.gov. The Benefit Finder will automatically compare your eligibility for over 1,000 different programs and return a list of benefits you may be eligible for and direct you on where to apply to receive assistance.
If you think the TANF program may be a good fit for your family, a great place to learn more is the HHS’ Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Outline.
We also offer timely information on government assistance on our News page. Read our article, Finding Financial Assistance on Benefits.gov, to learn about finding financial assistance or Assistance for Low-Income Families for more programs to help you and your family. You can also browse articles related to Financial Assistance to learn about financial assistance programs.