17 Tips to Get Temporary Assistance Welfare Check

Welfare check: Welfare programs are designed to help individuals and families who struggle financially. When speaking of welfare in the United States, the term “welfare” usually refers to the TAWF program, but there are other programs that are also considered to be welfare. Keep reading to learn more about getting TAWF benefits as well as benefits for these other forms of welfare.

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Welfare check

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1. Know the different welfare options available to you. When people talk about “welfare,” they usually refer to the U.S. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. This program provides tax assistance to certain households with severely limited or no income. There are several other welfare programs available through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, however, so review each one and determine which best suits your needs.

  • Child support and child care programs provide families with government-regulated child care placement assistance. Caretakers can spend more time working or training for work since they are provided with supplemental or full financial help for the cost of child care.
  • Energy or utility assistance provides supplemental or full financial aid to people who cannot afford to pay for essential utility needs, including heat, electricity, gas, and water.
  • Food assistance programs, more commonly referred to as food stamps or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), offers low-income households assistance with the cost of food. A special type of food assistance known as WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) is limited to women with young children.
  • Medical assistance programs offer some form of medical insurance to those who cannot obtain it on their own. The two most commonly used programs are Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Vocational rehabilitation services provide individuals with job training and skill training that can hopefully allow recipients to find adequate employment.

Welfare check

2. Check federal and state guidelines. While welfare programs are set up by the federal government, many are regulated by state. As such, there may be additional requirements for various welfare programs in your state that are not necessarily shared nationwide.

3. Meet the basic eligibility requirements. Not just anyone can apply for welfare. You must meet various financial and non-financial requirements, and these exact requirements can vary by state and by program. There are, however, a few basic federal requirements that apply to most U.S. welfare programs.

  • You must lack gainful employment opportunities. This can either be caused by a lack of potential employers or a lack of positions for which you are qualified for.
  • You must be willing to enter into a formal agreement stating that you are committed toward the goal of becoming self-sufficient within a certain specified time frame.
  • All heads of household must sign a commitment to cooperate and comply with all the regulations and requirements of the program. You must also commit to be accurate and honest during the program.
  • In the majority of cases, there must be dependent children living in the household. All minors must attend school and be fully immunized.
  • You must be 18 years of age or older to receive benefits.
  • You must be a legal and permanent resident of the state you are applying in, as well as a citizen or qualified non-citizen legal resident of the United States.
  • You must be willing to reveal all your monetary resources. Additionally, you must be willing to create a household budget and stick to it.

Welfare check

4. Understand how the basic process works.  Applying for benefits is a process that can also vary by state and by program, but there are some generalities here, too.

  • Usually, you will need to schedule an appointment with your state Department of Health and Human Services or a local branch of that office.
  • You will need to fill out an application that may include various forms, most of which can be found via your state’s DHHS website.
  • Bring any filled out applications to your appointment along with any requested identification information.
  • At the interview, you can ask questions and the interviewer will review with you what your needs are and offer consultation on the best way to address those needs. If your application is successful, you will usually know by the end of the appointment.

5. Understand the purpose of TAWF. TAWF was created with the goal of helping “families in need.” A family, according to TANF definition, includes at least one caretaker and one child, or one pregnant woman. “Need” is determined by state, but it deals with the amount of income a family brings in.

  • TANF aims to assist needy families so that children can be cared for at home.
  • There are preventative measures provided for out-of-wedlock pregnancy, and the program encourages two-parent families.
  • TANF also aims to ultimately reduce the dependency of needy parents through job preparation provisions.

Welfare check

6. Meet the income and work requirements. In order to qualify for TANF, you must meet work and income guidelines on both federal and state levels.  These guidelines are usually comparable from state to state.

  • Countable assets, including bank accounts and money kept in the home, must come to $2000 or less. If the family owns or buys a licensed vehicle, that vehicle must not exceed $8500 in cost.
  • Usually, you will not be required to have a job at the start of your application. You will be expected to work or actively participate in work training programs or other work-related activities while on the program, though.

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7. Be a citizen or legal resident. Only those living in the United States legally are permitted to apply for TANF. Additionally, you must also be a legal, full-time resident of the state in which you are applying for TANF.

  • U.S. citizens are eligible, but if you are not a citizen, you must have a green card, be an American Indian born outside of the U.S., be a victim of human trafficking, be a Hmong or Highland Lao, or be a “qualified alien.”
  • Qualified aliens are those who physically entered the U.S. prior to August 22, 1996, and who resided in the U.S. continuously before becoming “qualified” or legal. Those who entered after said date must wait five years after obtaining a qualified status unless they are refugees, asylees, or meet other specific requirements.

8. Have children. In most cases, you will only be able to receive TANF if you live with a child under the age of 18, but there are other conditions that will permit you to apply.

  • You can be a pregnant woman with no other children.
  • You can be a parent with a child under the age of 18, regardless of whether or not the other parent also resides in the home.
  • You can be the legal caretaker of children whom you are not the parents of.
  • You can have a child who is over the age of 18 but under the age of 19 who is has not graduated from high school student but is a full-time student at a secondary, vocational, or technical school.
  • You could be the caretaker of a disabled person who is over the age of 19 and under the age of 21 if that person is taking part in full-time secondary school.

Welfare check

9. Note any traits that may make you ineligible. If you are in poor status with federal law, for instance, you might not be eligible for TANF. For instance:

  • You may not be eligible if you are convicted of a felony and have fled to another state to avoid punishment, have violated probation or parole, are an undocumented immigrant, have been convicted of a drug-related felony, or have been convicted of past welfare fraud.
  • In addition to these legal issues, you may also fail to qualify if you are a worker on strike or if the children in your household live with a parent or adult relative whose TANF time limit has expired.

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10. Check other state-specific requirements. While these guidelines and requirements apply to TANF programs across the United States, this is a state-regulated welfare program, so states can impose their other restrictions as long as those restrictions do not violate federal guidelines.

  • Visit your state’s DHHS website for more information on state-specific guidelines.

Welfare check

11. Schedule an appointment with your local Human Service Department. Call the local branch of your state Human Service Department and ask to speak to a case worker. Briefly explain that you want to schedule an appointment to apply for TANF and work with the case worker to find the first available date for your appointment.

  • This department may also be called “Human Services,” “Family Services,” or “Adult and Family Services.”
  • You can always find the local branch by looking in the government pages section of a local phone book. Alternatively, you could also look online.
  • When you speak to the case worker, he or she should give you a list of any documents that may be required for your appointment.

12. Bring any necessary documentation. Your case worker should tell you about the documents you need, but they will usually include proof of income, official photo identification, and proof of residency. You may also be asked to prove that you have children who meet TANF guidelines.

  • You will usually need a driver’s license or other state-issued form of ID, but if you cannot provide one, a birth certificate or Social Security card may be enough. Check with your case worker if you do not have state-issued ID.
  • Proof of residency can usually be provided by bringing recent utility bills.
  • You may be asked to bring birth certificates or school transcripts to prove the status of your children.

Welfare check

13. Fill out an application. If at all possible, access the Department of Health and Human Services website for your state and print out the forms and official application beforehand. Fill out your paperwork to the best of your ability before you show up to your appointment to speed things along.

  • If you do not have access to the Internet or to a printer, you can ask your case worker where you can obtain these forms in advance.
  • Do not worry if you cannot fill out the forms completely before you arrive. If you have any questions, you should be able to ask your case worker and fill in any related information after you have a clear understanding of the information being requested.

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14. Go to your appointment and wait for the news. Show up to your appointment on time and bring all required documents and forms. Your case worker will be able to answer any questions you have during this time and will review your documentation and paperwork to determine if you are eligible and how much aid you are eligible to receive.

  • Your case worker may finish the process by the end of the appointment, but oftentimes, you will be contacted within a few days to a few weeks with the news.

15. Meet ongoing work requirements. While on TANF, you will be expected to either work or engage in work-related activities.

  • Recipients must begin work no later than two years from the start of their TANF application and acceptance.
  • Employment must consist of 30 hours per week or more or 20 hours per week if there is a child in the household under the age of 6.
  • There are nine core work activities that can be used to satisfy the work requirement: unsubsidized employment, subsidized private employment, subsidized public employment, job search and job readiness, community service, on-the-job training, work experience, vocational educational training, and caring for a child of a recipient in community service.
  • There are also three supplemental work activities that can be used of the nine core activities have been met: job skills training directly related to employment, education directly related to employment, or completion of a secondary school program.

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16. Prepare for when your benefits expire. You can only receive 60 months, at most, of TANF assistance within your lifetime.

  • With most states, however, TANF benefits you receive as a child do not count toward the 60 months you can receive as an adult. This can vary by state, however, so be sure to check your state’s guidelines.

Welfare check

17. Things You’ll Need

  • Official ID
  • Proof of residency
  • Proof of income
  • Official forms and application for welfare program(s)

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