Eligibility for TANF


Understanding who qualifies for TANF is critical before going through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) application process. Before you can determine your TANF eligibility as a senior, you must first know about certain requirements for TANF. For example, you must understand what are the income limits for TANF in addition to the household, residency and citizenship requirements necessary for receiving benefits with the TANF program. It is also important to understand who is not eligible for benefits in order to make an informed decision regarding whether you will apply for TANF in your state. Learn more about who qualifies for TANF benefits by reviewing the sections below.

Who is eligible for TANF?

Seniors who qualify for TANF must be responsible for a child younger than 18 years of age, or dependents younger than 19 years of age if the child is a full-time student. In order to be a household who qualifies for TANF, the child or children must be living in the household with the applicant, and the applicant must be one of the following relatives to the children: father, mother, sister, brother, grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, first cousin, stepfather, stepmother, stepsister or stepbrother. It is not necessary to have legal custody of the children, as the applicant must simply prove that the children are living with him or her. It is very important to become well informed on what types of households qualify for TANF assistance before applying.

One of the other TANF requirements is that the household must have an income that is below certain allowable limits. The income limits for TANF vary based on the number of people in the household. Most applicants that are found eligible for TANF are either unemployed or about to become unemployed. In addition to the income requirements for TANF eligibility, certain resources are counted based on their value. A few of the resources that are counted in determining whether the family qualifies include funds in checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds or mutual funds and vehicle equity. If the value of the resources exceeds the specified allowable amount it will result in the household being disqualified from receiving the benefits. Seniors who are denied TANF eligibility can complete a TANF benefits appeals process if they feel that the ruling was incorrect, if necessary.

Seniors who qualify for TANF benefits often do not have to meet the same work requirements as able-bodied adults younger than 60 or 65. To meet TANF requirements, most households that are receiving cash assistance from TANF must typically work or participate in work-related activities for a certain number of hours per week. However, most states provide exceptions to senior recipients older than 60 or 65 years of age. In addition, exceptions are also provided to applicants who are caring for an ill or incapacitated individual. To learn how to discover the work requirements for receiving TANF in your state, download our guide.

When determining TANF eligibility, applicants must meet additional guidelines that can vary between states. Some conditions of enrollment can include some of the following conditions:

  • Children of school age must be up-to-date with immunizations
  • Children between the ages of six and 18 must attend school with satisfactory attendance and caretakers may be required to participate in school conferences
  • All members of the household must apply for a Social Security Number if they do not already have one
  • Applicants must report all income including retirement checks and other types of benefits

In order to meet TANF requirements and qualify for benefits, the applicant must be a U.S. citizen, national, legal immigrant or lawful permanent resident. Other petitioners who qualify for TANF may include non-citizens if they are refugees or asylees from certain countries. In addition, most states require that the applicant prove their state residency or intention to live and work in that state on a long-term basis. For more information on eligibility requirements, download our informative guide.

Who is not eligible for TANF?

Another TANF requirement is that benefits are not made available to households where the minor children are absent from the home for longer than 90 consecutive days. TANF eligibility will also be withheld from households that do not disclose the 90-day absence to the state. Additionally, those who do not qualify for TANF are families with a specified caretaker relative who does not establish paternity or obtain child support if deemed necessary. Applicants receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and minor children receiving Foster Care Payments are also not eligible. Other individuals who may not be ineligible for TANF benefits include:

  • Fugitive felons, parole violators and those convicted of a felony involving substance abuse.
  • Individuals who have lied on their application in order to receive more benefits, or petitioners who misrepresented their residence to gain assistance in more than one state.
  • Families who have already received their maximum amount of TANF cash assistance, unless they have been granted an extension by the state.
  • Illegal or undocumented immigrants.

Seniors who wish to meet TANF requirements must make sure to meet federal standards in addition to the conditions established by their state. TANF eligibility requirements can vary slightly between states, so it is important that senior applicants understand requirements before completing the TANF application process.

What Financial Services Are Available for Seniors?

There are various financial services available to eligible seniors who may need assistance. These services include Social Security benefits, employment insurance and food stamps. Find out what services are available for eligible seniors by downloading our guide today.

What Eligibility Requirements Do Seniors Have to Meet to Receive Financial Services?

Eligibility requirements vary according to each financial service. However, seniors are typically required to meet age, residency and citizenship criteria to receive financial assistance. Learn more about eligibility requirements for seniors by downloading our guide now.