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Learn About TANF Program Benefits

Before receiving TANF benefits, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, it is important that you understand some aspects of the program. You can learn how the TANF benefits program can specifically assist seniors. “How long do TANF benefits last for seniors?” is a common question from new applicants. It is crucial to understand that the TANF program varies depending on the state that you reside in, and each state independently regulates how long you can receive those benefits in your lifetime, and how the benefits are calculated. A proper understanding of how the TANF senior benefits program works is imperative if you want to be well-informed and help the process to go smoothly. Learn more about the TANF program benefits offered to seniors by reviewing the sections below.

What does the TANF benefits program provide?

Senior beneficiaries of the TANF benefits program will generally receive cash assistance payments on a monthly basis. The delivery of these senior TANF benefits funds can vary depending on the state that you reside in. The most common method used by states to provide TANF assistance to beneficiaries is through the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, though certain states also provide assistance vouchers. This temporary cash assistance is meant to help pay for basic living expenses so that the children in the household can be taken care of properly. A few examples of what can be purchased with the EBT card include food, clothing, housing, utilities, furniture, transportation, phone bills, household supplies and more. Certain states prohibit using your TANF benefits EBT card for alcohol, tobacco, guns, lottery tickets, gambling and more. In addition to being used as a debit card at authorized places, the TANF EBT card can also be used to withdraw cash at certain locations and ATM’s.

There are also some senior TANF benefits provided by certain states that are calculated based on the individual needs of each family. For example, some families will receive funds to cover transportation costs if the head of household is commuting to work, school or training for a specific number of hours a day. The TANF program refers to this payment as a “travel stipend.” In addition, some families will be able to receive a “work allowance” that can be used to purchase a work uniform or necessary tools for the job. In order to discover which cash assistance benefits will be most helpful for your household’s personal situation, you must speak to a program counselor in your area about your situation and the current needs of your family. For more information on the senior TANF benefits you may receive if you qualify for the program, download our comprehensive guide today.

How long do TANF benefits last?

In most states, TANF benefits can only be received by one family for a limited amount of time if the benefits are being received by the whole family. However, in “child-only” cases, where TANF program assistance is awarded only to the children because the parent or caregiver does not qualify for TANF, there is not a time limit. The TANF benefits program is managed by each state in a slightly different way, so how long TANF benefits last for non-“child-only” cases will vary depending on the state where benefits are being awarded. However, this TANF time limit can be prolonged if a TANF benefits extension is found to be necessary due to certain hardships, including mental or physical incapacity and/or domestic violence. To learn more about how you can receive cash assistance benefits for seniors from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, download our informative guide.

How are senior TANF benefits calculated?

The method for determining senior TANF benefits amounts for what each household will receive in monthly is often a calculated process. The amount of money varies based on the household size and whether the TANF assistance is for the children only, or if it includes a recipient parent or caretaker. If you are taking care of a relative child such as a niece or nephew or grandchild, and your monthly income exceeds the TANF income limits provided by your state, you can still apply to receive cash assistance for just the children in your care. These TANF program benefits will vary based on how many children are currently living with you. It is important to note that if you are a senior and you are not currently employed and are receiving retirement checks, those retirement checks will be factored in as your monthly income.