The Benefits of TANF

Being a single mother can be a stressful experience especially for those that live near or below the poverty line in the United States. Fortunately there are many financial help programs for single mothers available through local and state governments. These programs can offer many helpful services including food and furniture vouchers, affordable housing, and cash assistance for single moms.

One of the programs most widely used by struggling single moms is TANF or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. TANF offers temporary financial assistance to single moms to help pay for food, childcare, rent and other living essentials. The program works by providing cash assistance to single moms via an Electronic Benefit Transfer or EBT card that works like any other bankcard or debt card. EBT cards can be used to withdrawal cash and are accepted at most nationally known retailers including grocery stores and pharmacies.

TANF works like many other programs that offer financial help to single moms with the goal of getting them off welfare with stable employment.  Families become eligible for TANF by falling below certain income requirements with a certain number of dependents. Different states use different income level standards to determine which families are eligible for TANF. Nearly every state, excluding Wisconsin, has an income cut-off for TANF set below the nation’s poverty line. This program also comes with a time limit on how long families can receive benefits. The current welfare law limits a family’s use of TANF to five years; however, some states have shorter time limits in place.

As a part of providing cash assistance for single moms, TANF requires that they participate in at least 30 hours of work-related activities each week or find gainful employment within the first two years of receiving benefits. Single mothers with a 6-year-old are permitted to only participate in 20 hours of work-related activities. These activities can include part-time work, community service, 12 months of vocational education, and on-the-job training.

Single mothers can apply for TANF at the Office of Family Assistance, a branch of the Administration for Children and Families. Also be sure to note that different states use different names for their respective TANF programs. Find the assistance that you’ve been looking for and talk to a representative at your local Office of Family Assistance. Providing millions of single moms with the financial assistance they need, TANF can make a difference in your family’s life today.


TANF is one of the most widely known and used welfare systems out there. This is because it is wildly effective and many people are able to utize it. For this reason, TANF is very popular among single mothers and those looking for some daily assistance. Again, check your eligibility before you apply and make sure that you would qualify as this is a great program for those interested.

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