Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program For Single Mothers In this article, we will discuss TANF and all the necessary details related to the program. TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, established in 1996, replaced the AFDC program (Aid to Families with Dependent Children), that offered cash help to families with kids experiencing poverty, including single mothers. TANF cash help plays a vital role in supporting families during hard times. Also, TANF reaches far fewer families and offers less cash support to families than AFDC, leaving more people in deep poverty. States have shifted the funds that went directly to families to fund other grants. You can also check Available Top 30 Grants for single mothers for more information.

What Is TANF?

Congress created the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families block grant through the PRWORA or Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, 1996, as part of a federal effort to end welfare. As TANF replaced AFDC, that had offered income support in the form of cash support to families with kids in poverty from 1935. Under TANF, the federal government offers a fixed block grant to states that use these grants to operate their own programs. Income supports to assist families in poverty, promote children’s healthy development, maintain stability, and a growing and large body of search funds.

Different names in states, for instance, CalWorks in California, know the programs. TANF’s funding structure may differ from AFDC, where the federal government has contributed at least $1 in matching funds for each dollar states spend. To get federal funds and eliminate a fiscal penalty, states should spend a few of their own dollars, called MOE or maintenance of effort spending.

States may use state MOE and federal TANF to meet any of the four purposes planned in the regulations of 1996:

  •  Preventing pregnancies among unmarried individuals.
  •  Helping families who are needy so kids can care for their relative’s home or their own homes.
  •  Decreasing the dependency of parents in need by promoting work, job preparation, and marriage
  •  Encouraging the building and maintenance of two-parent families.

States also define what a needy family is for the first and second reasons and do not have to restrict help to needy families for the third and fourth reasons.

Cash help policy in the United States is steeped in a legacy of racist policies and concepts. More than a century of harmful and wrong allegations, such as black women being unfit mothers. Paternalistic policies that sought to control the reproductive behavior of black women and compel their labor have led to several elements of TANF’s current design. Such a policy has built a weak cash safety net that leaves black families without any cash help. Also, these policies don’t harm black families: all families who are struggling to pay for their basic requirements and facing a crisis are harmed when they don’t get the support they require.

TANF Spending and Funding

The state contributions of MOE and federal TANF block grants are the main resources of funding for state TANF programs. Federal funding for the TANF has been planned at $16.5 billion every year since 1996; due to the result, the real value has fallen by 40 percent because of inflation. The state allotments were considered in 1996 depending on historical spending and have not evolved to account for population growth or demographic changes.

As stated above, states should spend state funds on programs that achieve the purpose of TANF in order to get their complete federal TANF block grant allocation. The funds that the state should spend is planned at 80 percent of their contribution in 1994 to AFDC-related programs.

Who is eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families?

To become eligible for this benefit assistance program, candidates should be a resident of the state where they have to apply and qualified aliens, legal aliens, or even a citizen of the United States. You should be underemployed or unemployed and have a low income. You should also be one of the following:

  • Be pregnant
  • Have child-18 years or even younger
  • You should be head of your household or 18 years old or even younger

Eligibility criteria for immigrants for TANF Program

Federal regulation bars states from using federal TANF dollars to help several individuals with qualified immigration status who shifted after 1996 until they have been in the United States for a minimum of 5 years with specific exceptions. This limitation implies not only cash help but also TANF-funded services and support such as commutation, child care, and job training. States may use state MOE funds to offer advantages to current immigrants who are eligible to the five-year bar, but less than half apply. U.S. citizen kids are eligible for TANF advantages and services even if they have non citizen immigrant parents who do not become eligible. Neither state nor federal TANF funds will be used for individuals without a status of documented immigration.

Child support

Federal regulation needs participants of TANF to assign their rights to kid support to the state. Participants have to cooperate with the enforcement of child support or have their benefits taken or reduced away. It means that the state will keep the money it gathers from the non-custodial parents to reimburse the federal government for the cost of offering cash support. Most states have pass-throughs that help families keep a part of child support payments usually between $200 and $20 a month and disregard the complete amount passed through so that it does not impact the family’s eligibility.

How Has TANF Performed?

State’s broad flexibility to consider eligibility has built a huge variation in program access and also racial disparities. Few policymakers have pointed to TANF as a model to reform other grants but the fact suggests otherwise. TANF is a weakened safety net that does far less than AFDC to hardship and poverty. Also, TANF’s work programs perpetuate segregation and rarely shift parents into jobs that lift their families out of poverty. Several families who leave Temporary assistance for needy families work in unstable and low-paying jobs that lead them to need TANF to start with.

TANF’s creation, the national caseload has been reduced by 78 percent. The early years of TANF witnessed unprecedented declines in the number of families who get cash support and those declines have continued throughout history. As the program reaches several families than AFDC did, it offers families less protection against deep poverty and poverty whose income is below the poverty line.

How to apply for the TANF program

To apply for the program the application process is straightforward and quick. You can directly visit the local office of TANF or even visit https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ and submit the application form.


We all know how terrible the life of single moms is. TANF helps single mothers with cash assistance. TANF also helps people with a low-income background in the best possible way for cash support. You can take benefit of this program. We have discussed above all the necessary details related to the program and how you can apply.


  • Who is eligible for cash assistance?

Cash help might be offered to needy families with dependent kids. Cash assistance grants’ eligibility depends on qualified noncitizen resident status, citizenship, limits on sources, Arizona residency, and monthly income rules.

  • How many people are on TANF in the U.S.?

There are 2.8 million people, and 1 million families have received help from MOE-funded assistance or TANF till September 2022.

  • What is TANF in the USA?

TANF means temporary assistance for needy families. The program is time restricted and helps families with kids when the relatives or parents cannot fulfill the family’s basic requirements.

  • What percentage of U.S. citizens are on welfare?

SNAP, SSI, Medicaid, TANF, housing assistance, and SSI are among the most used programs for the welfare of U.S. citizens. Official welfare statistics state that more than 18 percent of American citizens depend on welfare, and these grants cost the USA about $744 billion every year.

  • How much is the single-parent payment?

The amount you get for single-parent or single-mother payment is based on your assets and income. The maximum payment for single parents is $880. To get more money, the candidate’s income should be at most $194 every fortnight for one kid and $24 for every additional kid.

  • How much is the family tax benefit for single parent?

The family tax benefit of a single parent is $197 every fortnight for kids up to 12 years old and $257 every fortnight for kids up to 19 years old if they are eligible for the program.

  • What can single mothers claim?

Single mothers can claim the following benefits:

  1. Housing Benefit
  2. Working Tax Credit
  3. Income-based Jobseeker allowance
  4. Income-related support and employment allowance
  5. Child Tax Credit
  6. Income support
  • How Many Allowances can you claim if you are a single mother With one kid?

You may claim two allowances if you are single with one kid. If you are a single mother with one kid, then you can benefit from the program.

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