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. To learn how to get a TANF extension, and better determine whether you may qualify for ETANF or not, consult the following sections.

Pennsylvania Extended TANF Benefits

Extending TANF benefits enables needy residents to receive cash assistance or the use of employment resources beyond the traditional benefit period. Because many beneficiaries can benefit from a TANF benefits extension in PA, and to help ensure the full and complete use of available TANF funds, extensions are offered to eligible beneficiaries. However, the number of families that receive extended TANF assistance are limited and based on hardship. For example, families facing issues due to disabilities, domestic violence or other circumstances may still qualify for benefits to help them reach economic independence. Beneficiaries' CAOs ultimately control Pennsylvania TANF extension guidelines, and they attempt to remain objective when distributing extensions.

Eligibility Requirements for a TANF Benefits Extension in Pennsylvania

Not only must all applicants for TANF benefit extensions in Pennsylvania meet TANF eligibility requirements, but they must also meet additional ETANF requirements. First, PA TANF extension requirements require adult beneficiaries to:

  • Renew their Agreement of Mutual Responsibility (AMR) form.
  • Participate in activity track requirements for at least 30 hours per week.

The TANF benefits extension outlines these track requirements and their guidelines for ETANF beneficiaries. To learn more about these tracks, you can download our comprehensive guide today.

There is no time limit for extended TANF in Pennsylvania, which means any beneficiary eligible for ETANF may receive benefits regardless of the previous TANF benefits he or she has earned. However, many ETANF beneficiaries only receive extra benefits for one month, depending on their required activities tracks. For instance, getting a TANF extension for deferrals restricts beneficiaries to 30 days in some cases, and ETANF benefits given to beneficiaries finishing employment training programs may only last until the program terminates. If TANF beneficiaries are eligible to extend TANF benefits in PA, then their benefit extensions begin immediately after they agree to comply with ETANF requirements for their tracks and sign the updated AMR form. To get a TANF extension, ETANF applicants must also not be subject to sanctions or non-compliance issues.

How to Apply for a TANF Extension in Pennsylvania

A TANF benefits extension must be requested. Previous TANF beneficiaries must have reached their maximum benefit periods and still require Pennsylvania TANF benefits to afford living expenses. Usually, PA TANF extensions are considered during contingency periods (i.e., the period in which TANF benefits have stopped and an alert is created to either deem families eligible for Extended TANF or not), but some residents may apply for ETANF after their benefits period has ended completely.

Local CAOs address TANF benefit extension applications. They have 30 days to do so before the contingency period ends and TANF beneficiaries are no longer able to receive immediate ETANF benefits. However, extended TANF benefits in Pennsylvania may still be awarded in a non-sequential manner to residents. A PA TANF extension determination notice will be delivered to ETANF applicants and describe their new benefits period (if applicable) and explain new guidelines that they must follow. Residents will also be notified if their ETANF applications have been denied.

The adult receiving a TANF benefit extension in PA must complete a new or updated AMR form to indicate which ETANF track he or she may participate in. This action must be taken for each adult member receiving benefits or on behalf of children receiving benefits. To maintain the Pennsylvania TANF extension, all able-bodied adults must participate in the track's requirements (e.g., work) for a minimum of 30 hours per week. Signing the AMR form agreeing to uphold work and other requirements for the duration of ETANF benefits is the final step in the application process for extended benefits. For more specific information to help you apply for a TANF extension, you can download our complimentary guide today.

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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.