Eligibility for TANF in Pennsylvania


Who qualifies for TANF benefits in Pennsylvania is determined by various factors. To answer common eligibility questions such as “What are the income limits for TANF in Pennsylvania?” and “How long can I receive benefits?” a basic understanding of the program is required. Because TANF supplies cash assistance to residents and families who need financial support, the program demands that beneficiaries demonstrate financial need and maintain employment efforts when necessary. Additionally, Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards regulate benefit distribution to all beneficiaries covered by government cash assistance programs, so eligible PA residents may not be allowed to receive TANF benefits if they already receive benefits from other programs. Therefore, PA TANF eligibility can be difficult to determine and to sustain. Residents should be familiar with TANF requirements prior to applying for benefits to ensure that their applications are processed quickly and that they are likely to receive benefits. To learn more about qualifications for TANF and how to decide whether you may be eligible or not, review the following sections.

Who qualifies for TANF in Pennsylvania?

PA residents who are U.S. citizens or eligible aliens may qualify for TANF in the state and send in applications for the program. However, additional Pennsylvania TANF eligibility guidelines may apply, such as age limitations and access to essential documents and information. For instance, all applying families must have children, because available TANF program benefits enable beneficiaries to properly care for children and infants. TANF requirements dictate that all children listed from an applying family must be 18 years of age or younger or be a full-time student at an institution and be expected to graduate before turning 20 years of age. However, pregnant women without other children may still apply for TANF within one month of their due date. Residents who qualify for TANF in PA must be the primary caregivers for the children in the household and claim them as dependents. Still, benefits are given to the entire household and may be used to support any other relatives living within the home.

Some children may meet TANF requirements autonomously, without the need for their guardians’ income eligibility. These cases may occur when children live with relatives or nonrelatives rather than their parents or when the parents are disqualified to receive TANF benefits for reasons other than income. While child-only beneficiaries may be eligible for TANF in PA, they are less common than family beneficiaries.

What are the TANF eligibility requirements in Pennsylvania?

TANF eligibility is based on income, residency and citizenship criteria. Income limits for TANF are the most important eligibility criteria that applicants must meet. To meet eligibility requirements for TANF in PA, applicants must have extremely low monthly and yearly incomes. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) determines what the income limits for TANF are after federal poverty limits are announced and adjusted annually. While residents apply for TANF separately in some instances, incomes are calculated by totaling the monthly incomes for all household members prior to tax deductions.

Residency requirements for TANF state that applicants must reside in PA and present evidence of their residency such as utility bills or mortgage or lease agreements. Citizenship TANF requirements also apply to residents requesting TANF benefits. Being eligible for TANF in Pennsylvania requires U.S. citizenship or an eligible alien status. Applicants must provide their valid Social Security Numbers (SSNs). However, proof of citizenship is not always required unless requested for specific reasons.

In addition to income, residency and citizenship regulations, qualifications for TANF require families with one or more adults to actively seek employment and/or maintain current employment for the duration of their benefit periods when approved for TANF. Basic PA TANF work requirements include participation in job searches, job training, unsubsidized or subsidized employment or child care services. Additionally, TANF might count residents’ involvement in educational courses related to their employment to their mandatory work hours. To learn more about qualifying for TANF in Pennsylvania, download our comprehensive guide today.

Who is not eligible to receive TANF benefits in Pennsylvania?

Residents who do not qualify for TANF benefits must be in violation of program requirements or simply do not meet eligibility standards. For instance, TANF requirements prohibit the acceptance of residents who have committed welfare fraud or have been found guilty at an Administrative Disqualification Hearing (ADH) to have violated TANF guidelines intentionally. However, residents may only be disqualified from TANF in PA for six months or 12 months for first and second offenses, respectively. Following a third offense, residents may be permanently ineligible to receive TANF benefits. Residents who do not meet TANF eligibility will also be denied TANF benefits either until they meet them or until they qualify for an exception. To learn more about Pennsylvania TANF income requirements and other eligibility guidelines for the program, download our complimentary guide.

What Is the Division of Family and Children Services in Pennsylvania?

The state of Pennsylvania provides services for families and children who are most in need. The division provides resources for free and reduced lunch, food stamps and temporary cash assistance for needy families. To find out if you are eligible for these services, download our comprehensive guide to review the eligibility requirements for each program.

How Can I Apply for Assistance Through the Division of Family and Children Services?

In order to be considered for the benefit programs offered by the Division of Family and Children Services, you must submit an application via an approved method. Additionally, many of the services provided by the division have eligibility requirements that you must meet to obtain benefits. Learn all about the application processes for these programs by downloading our guide.