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Learn About TANF Benefits Extensions

A TANF benefits extension is necessary when an applicant to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program has exceeded their lifetime limit but is still in need of assistance. A TANF extension, will be granted only in emergency situations upon submitting a special request to your state’s social support office. Different categories of exceptions to extend TANF benefits to the lifetime limit for receiving TANF benefits exist in every state. If you are wondering, “How can I extend TANF benefits?” then you can learn more by reading the sections provided below.

Find Out About Federal Lifetime Limits & TANF Extension Possibilities

Your benefits and TANF extension possibilities are managed by your state’s Social Security office but overseen by the federal government. To extend TANF benefits, all TANF programs must meet federal guidelines in addition to any further state regulations. To get a TANF extension, some of the most common policies affecting an applicant’s eligibility include:

What are the lifetime limits?

TANF extension requirements mandate that all state program extensions must adhere to the maximum lifetime limit set by the national government for adults receiving TANF benefits, currently set at sixty months (five years). Any social assistance aid received after this point is considered a TANF benefits extension and cannot be received without submitting the appropriate application.

What is a family unit?

A TANF benefits extension applies to all adults within a family unit. This means that a TANF extension would be necessary if there were two adults in a financial household and just one had already received the lifetime limit of sixty months of TANF benefits. Getting a TANF extension may not be required for some social assistance programs that don’t count towards your TANF limit, like many cash, food, and medical assistance programs. Several categories of exceptions are available, with more information available from your state’s Social Security department.

What are the TANF extension categories?

The simplest TANF benefits extension to receive is known as the Hardship Extension. Through this policy, you are allowed to apply to extend TANF benefits by demonstrating that you are suffering from an immediate and unexpected hardship. Most state laws allow you to receive a substantial time limit extension of your TANF benefits.

Find Out About TANF Extension Requirements

TANF benefits extensions are usually divided into two categories: adult recipients and ineligible parent recipients. Ineligible parent recipients of the TANF extension are those who lose access to TANF benefits in their name for not meeting some eligibility requirement but continue to receive benefits for a dependent or child. Whenever an adult is receiving benefits from either category, the months are added to the adult’s lifetime accumulation.

Getting a TANF extension is done on a case-by-case basis. These are some of the most common TANF extension requirements that may qualify you for a senior TANF extension:

  • Receiving SSI or Social Security Disability Insurance
  • Being a senior citizen
  • Caring for a child or adult with a disability
  • Being an adult with a mental, physical, emotional or cognitive condition that prevents them from working and may last a year or more

The documentation you must provide for your TANF extension will vary significantly based on your circumstances and category of extension. Exceptions for medical conditions, for example, require the submission of health records demonstrating you or your dependent’s hardships. Learn more by downloading our free guide today.

How to Extend TANF Benefits

If you want to know “How can I extend TANF benefits?” then you will need to schedule an appointment with the Social Security office in your state. Sometimes, your TANF benefits extension appointment can be conducted over the phone, but oftentimes you will have to visit the office in-person. You should be prepared to show proof of your residency and family unit at your appointment. Depending on your situation and the conditions of your TANF extension, you may also need to bring the following documentation to your appointment:

  • Medical evidence of a disability or medical condition
  • Copy of any submitted SSI or other assistance applications
  • Proof of receipt of SSI or Social Security Disability Insurance Payments
  • Proof of recent and current employment

At your appointment for a TANF benefits extension, you will speak with a case worker who will review whether you meet the eligibility requirements. Be prepared to support your claim for a TANF benefits extension by going through your paperwork with the case worker and explaining how you meet all of the federal and state regulations. Your caseworker will explain how the TANF time limit works and what other sorts of assistance programs you may be eligible for. If you can no longer get a TANF extension, they will also discuss your options for supporting yourself and your family in another way. TANF extensions for seniors and/or blind should be approved automatically. Get more details on this process by downloading our comprehensive guide.

You should be notified of your eligibility for a TANF benefits extension immediately, but you will also receive notification by mail after your benefits period ends explaining the reason your request was approved or denied. If your TANF extension was denied, the written notification will include instructions on how you can appeal the decision and the legal timeframe for which you have to respond.