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Learn About TANF Application Denials and Appeals

Receiving a TANF denial after applying for benefits through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program may be the result of several causes. If you are considering filing an appeal to your TANF denial letter, you will need to address whatever issues led to your application denial. Because many cases of TANF benefits denial are due to missing or inaccurate information, every state offers a straightforward process to appeal the decision. Learn more about how a denial of TANF benefits works and what common causes for benefits denial are by reading the sections provided below.

What are common reasons for a TANF denial?

You may receive a TANF denial for not meeting either federal or state requirements. One of the most common cause sof denied benefits through TANF is applying without meeting or being able to provide evidence of meeting federal eligibility requirements. The principle requirements include: demonstrating residence in the state of application for at least the state-designated minimum, meeting state-specific income requirements and demonstration of taking the necessary steps to find employments. An explanation of how to appeal your TANF denial letter, if necessary, should be sent to you in writing, by mail.

What are the income requirements?

A TANF benefits denial can often come as a consequence of not meeting income requirements. The income requirements can be particularly confusing, as each state maintains different income requirements for their residents based on their location and the make up of their family. Those applying for TANF are less likely to be denied benefits through TANF if caring for young or disabled dependents (because of higher salary limits) than for those who are only legally responsible for themselves. Your probability of senior TANF denial and eligibility for TANF benefits can also be impacted by your work and medical histories. Get more information on the requirements by downloading our guide today.

What about other requirements?

Other reasons you may have received a TANF benefits denial include:

  • You have an outstanding felony conviction
  • You have been convicted of a drug-related felony or welfare fraud
  • You have violated probation or parole
  • You are a worker on strike
  • You are an undocumented immigrant or lawfully present alien
  • You are a child living with an adult guardian whose life TANF time limit has expired

The Process to Appeal a TANF Denial Letter

If you were denied benefits through TANF for any reason, you have the right to appeal the decision. The denied TANF benefits appeal process varies somewhat across state lines but must follow basic federal procedures. Every state is required to provide its residents with a method to appeal a TANF denial letter at least once. An appeal must be submitted to the governing office within a certain amount of time from the issuance of your written decision notice, usually sixty days. If you are currently receiving TANF benefits and the date your denial will stop your benefits isn’t here yet, you should continue to submit your regular paperwork during the appeals process to continue receiving payments. To complete the denied TANF benefits appeal process, There are generally three steps (but check with your state office to make sure you follow their specific requirements).

1. Learn About Attending a Pre-Hearing Conference

Once you decide to appeal TANF denial letter, you have the right to a fair hearing. Sometimes, a TANF denial can be easily addressed by attending a pre-appeal conference with your social services case manager and their supervisor. At this meeting, you can clear up any simple issues that may have mistakenly caused denial of your TANF benefits and ask any necessary questions to your case manager. If the department supervisor sees that you meet all eligibility requirements and that whatever caused your application denial can be resolved, they have the power to change the status of your application to approved.

2. Learn About the Court Hearing

When you appeal a TANF denial letter, your case will be seen in front of a court officer if necessary. At this meeting, meant to simply discuss your TANF denial, you can choose to represent yourself or have a lawyer present. You will be able to make your case for a reversal of the department’s original TANF denial by presenting testimony from yourself and others in support of your claims, providing documentation as evidence, examining applicable records with the court and cross-examining any witnesses for the court. Unless any unexpected problems are presented during the denied TANF benefits appeal process, the hearing officer will typically come to a decision about your case immediately after the hearing. You will be notified in writing of their decision.

3. Learn About Appealing to Your Local Circuit Court

If you are still denied benefits through TANF after filing an appeal and you feel like you have a good case, you can file a lawsuit in your local circuit court against the finding. At this stage of the denied TANF benefits appeal process, you should be well prepared to present evidence of why both your state’s TANF agency and the local court officer were mistaken when issuing your TANF benefits denial. You may consider hiring professional representation to help you make your case in front of the court and better understand the denied TANF benefits appeal process. However, it’s important to note that you may need to pay for legal representation. Because of the additional monetary and time costs associated with this process, most appeals cases do not proceed to this stage. Learn more by downloading our helpful free guide.