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Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides cash assistance to low-income families with children while they strive to become self-sufficient. The program's goal is to reduce the number of families living in poverty, through employment and community resources.

To qualify for TANF, families must have very few assets and little or no income. The current maximum monthly benefit for a family of three is $506. 

Applying for TANF

You can apply for TANF by visiting your local DHS Self-Sufficiency office. You can download an application and instructions below.  You will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader software to view these PDF files. You can download the free software at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html 

These application forms should be printed and filled out by hand and then brought or sent to a local DHS Self-sufficiency office.

 English (PDF, 169 KB)

 Spanish (PDF, 1.46 MB)

 Russian (PDF, 335 KB)

 Vietnamese (PDF, 270 KB)


The intent of the Pre-TANF program is to:

  • Determine eligibility and open TANF benefits as soon as possible
  • Assess unmet needs, determine eligibility for SNAP and TANF-related medical benefits.
  • Help clients find employment or other alternatives by:
    • Assessing employment potential
    • Determining barriers to employment to family stability
    • Determining services needed to enhance employability or reduce risks to family stability
    • Developing a case plan that identifies activities that promote financial independence and family stability

A family may remain in the Pre-TANF program for as little as one day or up to 45-days, depending on the family's situation. During this time, DHS may be able to help with transportation or childcare related to the job search. DHS may also help pay for personal incidental items such as uniforms, hygiene items, work boots, diapers, etc.

Post-TANF Program

The goal of the Post-TANF program is to provide parents who become ineligible for TANF due to income, a monthly grant of $50 for up to one year.  Post-TANF clients must stay employed and work a minimum number of hours per week.  This grant will help families with transitional expenses of employment.  There is an income cap of 250% of the federal poverty level.  This program is currently suspended.

Some other services that may assist families are:

The TANF program is administered by the Children, Adults and Families (CAF) Division of the Department of Human Services (DHS). All services are provided through local DHS offices.

Child support from absent parents

In addition, the Department of Human Services (DHS) works with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to help clients obtain child support from absent parents.  For help getting child support payments, contact Department of Justice.

Also see: