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Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)

The Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program in 1997 as the American government’s program charged with providing financial aid to families with children. While the funding is provided by the federal government through the Department of Health and Human Services, the actual relief programs are run directly by the individual states.

The particulars of how the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds are used and who is qualified to receive assistance is left to state programs. This allows a great deal of flexibility compared to federally run programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

In many states, you can receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) while you are waiting for a decision to be rendered in your Social Security Disability case. It can take over a year for the SSA to determine whether to grant you Social Security Disability benefits, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) can help you bridge that gap between when you stop collecting a paycheck and when you start collecting disability benefits.

In addition to offering financial support for families with children, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds have been used for programs which create job opportunities by subsidizing employment. They have also been used in several “non-recurring” programs which have been designed to address common temporary needs on the local and state levels. Like most programs funded by Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), the particulars of these programs varies widely from state to state.

If your family has a significant financial need due to disability and you have not yet been approved for Social Security Disability benefits, consider applying with your state welfare agency for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds.