Civic Resources

Here’s How To Get Cash Assistance, Help With Childcare, And Job Preparation

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The federal government provides roughly $16.5 billion to states and U.S. territories through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The program is designed to help low-income families with children achieve economic independence.Low-income families receive monthly cash assistance directly from states, to help with basic necessities, job readiness, and more. 

This article will answer the following questions about the TANF program:

What does the TANF program do? 

Who is eligible for TANF benefits? 

Where can I find TANF resources in my state? 

Where can I find more information about TANF?

What does the TANF program do? 

Specifically, TANF provides services such as:

  • Time-limited cash assistance for basic needs, such as food, clothing, housing, etc. 
  • GED preparation, vocational training, postsecondary education, vocational rehabilitation, classes in basic English, childcare, etc. 
  • Screening for issues related to substance abuse, mental health, and domestic violence, and referrals for available services to address them. 

Who is eligible for TANF grants? 

Generally, the program requires that you:

  • Have a child 18 years of age of younger, or
  • Be pregnant, or
  • Be 18 years of age or younger and the head of your household. 

You must also be unemployed or underemployed and have low or very low income. This quick questionnaire can tell you if you are eligible. 

Here is the spanish version

Requirements may vary depending on your state, but generally U.S. citizens, legal non-citizens, and some qualified non-citizens may be eligible. 

Where can I find TANF resources in my state? 

Click here to find contact information and general benefits information in your state. 




New York

Where can I find more information about TANF?

The link above provides a list of phone numbers to call for more information and addresses of each state’s office. 

You can also contact for questions about the federal administration of TANF. 
Additionally, you can visit the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) website for an overview of the TANF program.

Thalia Carrillo is a writer based in Austin, TX. She moved from her hometown of El Paso, TX to pursue a journalism degree at The University of Texas at Austin. She enjoys covering politics and pop culture and has a passion for social justice, digital storytelling, plants, and specialty coffee!