Understanding the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program in the US


The vast majority of public benefits programs in the United States—Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and Housing Assistance—do not take the form of cash transfers. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program provides limited cash transfers to families, and it is dependent on families disclosing extensive personal information to meet a financial need test and satisfying work requirements. While amounts vary by state, benefits range from $170 to $923 per month for families, which in all states constitutes merely a fraction of poverty-level income. Furthermore, ‘temporary’ is the key characteristic of this program: benefits are capped at a five-year lifetime limit.

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: Responses to Frequently Asked Questions


Author: Gene Falk

Publication: Congressional Research Service

TANF Benefits Remain Low Despite Recent Increases in Some States


Author: Ashley Burnside and Ife Floyd

Publication: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

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