Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

There never seems to be enough money to go around when the single mom is trying to take care of her family, but sometimes everything goes wrong at the same time, turning a difficult situation into a financial crisis. Knowing that the needs of the family are her first concern, the single mom may sometimes have to look to assistance to meet the most basic needs of the family.

The TANF program (government grants for single mothers) can offer assistance to the single mom who finds herself in a temporary situation where she needs assistance to take care of her family. The funds are distributed by the individual states, but come from the federal government under the Social Security Act.

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.

What Is TANF?

The Temporary Assistance for Need Families program goal is to promote responsibility, work and self-sufficiency. It is a time limited benefit, for the single mother who needs additional support while she is dealing with a financial crisis and it is an opportunity that should not be overlooked.

To be eligible for the cash assistance program, you must have a child under the age of 18. When you apply for assistance, your total assets must be less than $1,000. If you own the home that you live in, it is exempt from the total assets.

The single mom can apply for TANF by contacting the local Division of Family Resources Office in the county where she resides. In most cases it will take 30 to 60 days after the application for the benefit is made to find out if the request is accepted or denied.

When an application is made for assistance under this temporary benefit program, the single mom will have to provide complete information of all children and adults who are in the household. State residency requirements will have to be met and Social Security numbers will have to be provided. Additionally, citizenship or alien requirements will have to be met. You will also have to provide information about child support assignment and employment.

Because TANF is a federal benefit that is run by the state governments, benefits and application requirements may differ from state to state. The availability of funds may also differ depending on the number of needy families who are being assisted by the program. Make sure that you get the information that is appropriate for the County and State in which you reside before applying for the benefit.


Part of the eligibility conditions for the TANF program in some states is that adult applicants may have to complete 20 days of job search activities. If you are required to participate in the job search or training program and fail to complete it, the application of the cash assistance benefit will be denied. If there is any change in your circumstances that may affect your eligibility for TANF, you must report them to your local DFR office within 10 days of the change.

Single moms can appeal any action that is taken on her case if she feels unsatisfied with the way her application was handled. In this situation, send a written request to have a hearing to your local Division of Family Resources – Hearings and Appeals Section within thirty days after the disputed action was made.

For more information on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, call your local Division of Family Resources office.

Benefits Of TANF

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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