Each state has its own Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. This federally funded grant program provides block grants to states to replace traditional "welfare" and provide food stamps for families who need assistance.
TANF was created in 1996 during the Clinton administration. The federal program offers individuals a lifetime maximum of 60 months of benefits, but some states provide only short-term assistance.
Once an individual or family is receiving TANF benefits, recipients must look for and find a paying job within two years.
Who Is Eligible for TANF?
TANF benefits may be provided to families in need, but the specific definition of "in need" varies from state to state. Legal immigrants to the United States may be eligible for TANF after they have been in the country for five years. Illegal immigrants are not eligible.
It is important to know that, except in rare situations, TANF provides services only to families with children. In some cases, adults receiving support through TANF may hit their limits while children in the family continue to receive funding. In some situations, TANF assistance may be denied even to families that are eligible.
What Services and Supports Do TANF Provide?
According to its website, the four purposes of the TANF program are to:
- Provide assistance to needy families so that children can be cared for in their own homes
- Reduce the dependency of needy parents by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage
- Prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies
- Encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families
Depending upon your state, TANF may provide one or more of a variety of services and supports.
For example, you may receive:
- Wage supplements if you are poor but working 30+ hours per week
- Child care
- Education or job training
- Help with transportation costs
Find TANF Details for Your State
While the federal program is called TANF, programs in individual states may use different names. Below, you'll find the name of each state's program, along with a link to the corresponding website and a contact phone number.
- Alabama: Family Assistance | 334-242-1310
- Alaska: Alaska Temporary Assistance Program | 1-800-478-3551
- Arizona: Family Assistance Administration | 602-542-9935
- Arkansas: TANF | 1-800-482-8988
- California: CALWORKS | 916-657-3546
- Colorado: Colorado Works | 303-866-5700
- Connecticut: JOBS FIRST | 1-800-842-1508
- Delaware: ABC (A Better Chance) | 302-255-9500
- D.C.: TANF | 202-724-5506
- Florida: Welfare Transition Program | 1-866-762-2237
- Georgia: TANF | 1-800-869-1150
- Guam: TANF | 671-735-7101
- Hawaii: TANF | 1-808-981-2754
- Idaho: Temporary Assistance for Families in Idaho | 208-334-5818
- Illinois: TANF | 217-785-3300
- Indiana: TANF, IMPACT (Indiana Manpower Placement and Comprehensive Training) | 1-800-446-1993
- Iowa: Family Investment Program | 1-800-972-2017
- Kansas: Kansas Works | 785-296-3959
- Kentucky: K-TAP (Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program) | 502-564-3440
- Louisiana: FITAP (Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program), (STEP) Strategies to Empower People | 225-342-3947
- Maine: TANF, ASPIRE (Additional Support for People in Retraining and Employment) | 207-287-3707
- Maryland: FIP (Family Investment Program) | 1-800-332-6347
- Massachusetts: TAFDC (Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children), ESP (Employment Services Program), TANF | 1-800-249-2007
- Michigan: FIP (Family Independence Program) | 1-800-285-9675
- Minnesota: MFIP (Minnesota Family Investment Program) | 1-800-657-3739
- Mississippi: TANF | 1-800-948-4060
- Missouri: Beyond Welfare | 573-751-3221
- Montana: TANF | 406-444-1917
- Nebraska: Employment First | 1-800-685-5456
- Nevada: TANF | 1-800-992-0900
- New Hampshire: Division of Family Assistance | 1-800-852-3345, ext. 4238
- New Jersey: WFNJ (Work First New Jersey) | 1-800-792-9773
- New Mexico: NM Income Support Division | 1-888-473-3676
- New York: TANF | 1-800-342-3009
- North Carolina: Work First | 1-800-662-7030
- North Dakota: TEEM (Training, Employment, Education Management) | 1-800-472-2622
- Ohio: OWF (Ohio Works First) | 614-466-6282
- Oklahoma: TANF | 1-866-411-1877
- Oregon: JOBS (Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Program) | 503-945-5600
- Pennsylvania: Cash Assistance/TANF | 1-800-692-7462
- Puerto Rico: TANF | 787-289-7600
- Rhode Island: Rhode Island Works | 401-462-5300
- South Carolina: Family Independence | 1-800-768-5700
- South Dakota: TANF | 1-605-773-4678
- Tennessee: Families First/TANF | 1-866-311-4287
- Texas: TANF | 1-877-787-8999
- Utah: FEP (Family Employment Program) | 1-801-526-9675
- Vermont: Reach Up | 1-800-287-0589
- Virgin Islands: (FIP) Family Improvement Program | 340-774-7125
- Virginia: VIEW (Virginia Initiative for Employment, Not Welfare) | 1-804-726-7385
- Washington: WorkFirst | 360-413-3200
- West Virginia: West Virginia Works | 1-800-642-8589
- Wisconsin: W-2 (Wisconsin Works) | 608-267-9886
- Wyoming: POWER (Personal Opportunities With Employment Responsibility) | 307-777-6313