Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in Pennsylvania

Temporary assistance for needy families, commonly known as TANF, is a cash-assistance program offered to needy families. If residents are asking questions such as “What is TANF program?” in order to discover whether the program is right for them, then they may refer to the sections below. Briefly, the TANF program is a federally funded program that provides financial support and job preparation services to families struggling to receive sufficient funds. TANF assistance primarily addresses financial need in young children, pregnant women and families. In Pennsylvania, residents must meet certain eligibility requirements to be considered for TANF benefits. Because the primary requirement for beneficiaries involves income limits, the TANF eligibility requirements are constantly updated to adhere to national poverty levels and to ensure that state-level issues are properly addressed. In other words, because the PA TANF program receives grants from the federal government to create individualized programs, the state can target the families with the greatest needs by adjusting eligibility requirements. Still, all changes made to the TANF program plan must be submitted to and approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

“What does TANF provide?” is a frequently asked question from prospective applicants. However, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, also called temporary cash assistance, provides more than financial aid to beneficiaries. The TANF program funds other programs related to its goals in helping low-income families and children. For instance, child support and unemployment programs are supported by TANF and enable families to become more independent following the issuance of aid. In addition to TANF, the Diversion Program, State Blind Pension Program and Refugee Cash Assistance Program are all available to qualified residents in PA. Because PA residents may only receive TANF benefits for a total of five years, the program is meant to encourage financial independence.

It is essential for residents to understand the penalties of not maintaining TANF requirements, who is exempt from some requirements and how to apply and reapply for benefits if residents are considering obtaining government cash assistance. The following articles in this section dedicated to temporary assistance benefits will cover all aspects of the program and how it benefits residents.

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. Read More

TANF Program Benefits in Pennsylvania

TANF benefits in Pennsylvania are targeted at helping poor children and their families. The TANF benefits program enables families to receive child support and welfare payments necessary to maintain healthy lives. Therefore, the goals of the program are threefold. First, the program seeks to provide cash assistance to needy families to allow children to remain in their homes with two parents, if possible, by promoting marriage. Next, TANF benefits offer unemployment resources and require beneficiaries to utilize them during benefit periods to encourage independence. Finally, TANF aims to prevent or reduce the prevalence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies. The PA TANF benefits program was created to enact these goals and help children and families with the aspects of their lives for which they require support. Read More

How to Apply for TANF in Pennsylvania

The TANF application is designed to allow Pennsylvania residents to easily apply for the program at their own convenience. After determining eligibility, residents should learn how to apply for TANF program benefits to begin receiving benefits immediately. Common questions related to the program such as “When can you apply for TANF in Pennsylvania?” and “What information do I need to provide with my application?” can be answered generally in the sections below. However, each TANF application will involve submitting documents, disclosing information and utilizing an available application method depending on individual situations related to cash benefits. However, because TANF is classified as a cash assistance program, the PA TANF application form is similar to the forms used for other food and cash assistance programs such as the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) assistance program or the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program. Read More

TANF Application Denials and Appeals in Pennsylvania

A TANF denial is sent to applicants for various reasons in Pennsylvania. While you may appeal TANF denial letter notices to attempt to overrule the decision made by the Department of Human Services (DHS), you are encouraged to determine your eligibility for the TANF program prior to applying to save time. However, some applicants may be denied benefits due to marginal income differences or mistakes. Although the DHS follows strict protocol to accurately determine the acceptance or denial of TANF applications, some mistakes do occur that cause eligible applicants to be denied. Still, the denial of TANF benefits in Pennsylvania is usually a result of clear ineligibility. Because the TANF program can significantly help families recover from financial instability and hardship, understanding reasons for TANF denial is essential for families seeking other benefits and avoiding denials. Read More

TANF Benefit Extensions in Pennsylvania

A TANF benefits extension allows beneficiaries to receive additional benefits after their 60-month benefit allotment ends. While a Pennsylvania TANF extension involves reassessing beneficiaries' eligibility for TANF benefits, it includes more requirements and can be more difficult to receive than traditional benefits. To extend TANF benefits, the Department of Human Services (DHS) County Assistance Office (CAO) must evaluate individual cases within 30 days following the start of the contingency period. However, answering the question, “How can I extend TANF benefits?” depends on various factors, such as your current involvement in TANF activities. Regardless of their activities track or reason for eligibility in PA extended TANF (ETANF), the length of the awarded extension may vary. While some beneficiaries may be eligible for ETANF through numerous tracks, others may be denied eligibility without a track unless they qualify for an exemption. Read More

Veteran Disability Compensation in Pennsylvania

The VA disability compensation program allows disabled U.S. veterans to receive tax-free cash assistance in Pennsylvania. To answer the question, “What is VA disability compensation in Pennsylvania?” residents must understand the eligibility criteria for beneficiaries and the benefits involved in the program. Because VA disability compensation eligibility limits the number of qualified veterans for the program by the degree of disability they have incurred, applicants may need to provide sufficient medical documentation proving illnesses or injuries exist. Additionally, benefits are offered to veterans and their families following discharge from active service or inactive duty training. The VA disability compensation benefits are meant to help cover medical costs and other expenses, such as child care and food, associated with maintaining disabled veterans and their families. The program primarily serves veterans with extreme medical and financial needs related to their disabilities. Read More

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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.