Temporary Assistance For Needy Families is money provided through block grants from the U.S. government to the states to provide help to low-income families with children. In most cases, getting TANF money requires parents to work a certain number of hours each week, though caregivers may be exempt from this rule in certain situations.
For those not in special categories, the work requirement is 35 hours per week for single-parent households or, for households with two patents, 55 hours per week total between the parents.
That said, Florida law creates four categories of families who may be eligible for TANF cash assistance:
- Child-Only Families – These families include situations where the child is living with a relative or situations where a custodial parent is not eligible to be included in the eligibility group. In the majority of situations, the child is living with a grandparent or other relative. Child-only families also include situations where a parent is receiving federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments and situations where the parent is not a U.S. citizen and is ineligible due to their immigration status. Grandparents or other relatives receiving child-only payments are not subject to the TANF work requirement or the TANF time limit.
- Relative Caregiver Program – The Relative Caregiver program is a specialized program for child-only families where the child has been been placed with a grandparent or other relative by the court due to abuse or neglect. These relatives are eligible for a payment that is higher than the typical child-only payment, but less than the payment for licensed foster care. As with other child-only families, grandparents or relatives receiving Relative Caregiver payments are not subject to the TANF work requirements or time limits.
- Single-Family Parents with Children – Parents with children can receive cash assistance for the parent and the children. These parents are subject to all of the financial and non-financial requirements including the work requirements and time limits. Single parents with a child under age six meet the participation rate with 20 hours of work participation per week.
- Two-Parent Families with Children – Two-Parent Families with children are eligible on the same basis as single-parent families except the work requirement for two-parent families includes a higher number of hours of participation per week (35 hours or 55 hours if child care is subsidized) than required for single-parent families (30 hours).
In general, families must include a child (or a pregnant woman) and be residents of Florida. Children under age 5 must be current with childhood immunizations and children age 6 to 18 must attend school and parents or caretakers must participate in school conferences. Countable assets must be $2,000 or less and licensed vehicles needed for individuals subject to the work requirement may not exceed $8,500.
In terms of how much money may be available through TANF, it depends on the size of the household and certain other standards, but most families will get anywhere from $200 to $400 per month. See this document for more information on Florida TANF payments and work requirements.
To apply for TANF benefits and other benefits you may be eligible for, go to the AccessFlorida site and look for the “Apply For Benefits” link.