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Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) FAQs

Navigating government assistance programs can be confusing, and it can be hard to know where to find important information and where to turn to answer your questions. On, our goal is to make it easier for citizens to find the help they need and connect them to valuable government assistance programs and resources. Here are a few common questions about Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) answered for you!

What is TANF?

The TANF program provides grant funds to states and territories to provide families with financial assistance and related support services. State-administered programs may include childcare assistance, job preparation, and work assistance.

What is the purpose of TANF?

The TANF program aims to address one or more of the following purposes:

  • Provide assistance to needy families so that children can be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives;

  • End the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage;

  • Prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies;

  • Encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.

Who is eligible for TANF?

To be eligible TANF, you must be a resident of the state in which you apply. Eligibility may vary slightly by state, but in general you must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or legally qualified alien. You must be unemployed or underemployed and have low or very low income. You must also be one of the following:

  • Have a child 18 years of age or younger, or

  • Be pregnant, or

  • Be 18 years of age or younger and the head of your household.

You can also take a short online questionnaire at the bottom of the TANF benefit page to find out if you may be eligible for this program.

How do I find more information about the program?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services manages TANF and offers federal program information on their page, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Outline. If you have questions about the federal administration of TANF, contact

What other Financial Assistance programs does the government offer?

Find more benefit information on by browsing the Financial Assistance benefit category and filter by state to see benefits relevant in your state and find your state’s TANF program. You can also use our Benefit Finder, a confidential online questionnaire, to check your eligibility for all benefits on and find other assistance for you and your family.

You can also browse our news articles related to financial assistance to learn more about financial assistance programs.


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