It’s been a difficult past two years for many of us, but fortunately, you’re not completely on your own. There are various initiatives offering financial assistance to those who need it most, and the Texas Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is one of them.
As long as you live in Texas and you meet the criteria, the program could ensure you’re able to pay your bills and keep your family well-fed.
What the program offers
Formerly known as Aid to Families with Children (AFC), the program offers assistance to the parents or guardians of children in need. These resources can take the form of financial assistance (aka cash payments) to help with paying rent and bills or Medicaid.
There are three main kinds:
- TANF for Families — monthly cash assistance payments for families.
- One-Time TANF — a one-off payment for low-income families undergoing a crisis.
- One-Time TANF for Grandparents — a one-time payment to a grandparent caring for a child who already receives TANF.
As you might have gathered based on what we’ve said already, the three primary criteria for the program are being a resident living in the state of Texas, having (or caring for) children, and being unemployed or on a low income. Now, let’s look at these criteria in a little more detail.
To apply, you must either be pregnant or the guardian of a child aged 19 or under. You should also be a US citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien.
While some programs simply set an income threshold that determines whether someone is eligible for assistance, TANF is a little more complex. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) determines how in need a family is by looking at their income, other financial resources, any debt, and regular expenditures (spanning factors like rent, utility bills, and childcare expenses).
However, you can find the most recent maximum income thresholds on the Texas Health and Human Services site.
In some cases, you may have to commit to training, looking for a job, or taking classes related to parenting to receive the assistance.
How to apply
The criteria for TANF might be somewhat difficult to understand, but the good news is that it’s easy enough to apply and find out for yourself whether you’re eligible.
Simply contact your local administering agency to file your application — find yours on the My Texas Benefits platform.
If you have any doubts about how the program works or you’re struggling to apply, you can also contact a representative directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1-800-448-3927.
Time to get the help you need
Just because you’re not eligible for TANF, it doesn’t mean that there’s no way to get help. There are various other nationwide and state-specific programs run by private charities and public organizations — just check out our dedicated assistance and grants section to find out more about them.
No matter how dire your situation may seem, don’t bury your head in the sand. Chances are that it’s not your fault, and you might be surprised at how many people are willing to help you get through the tough times.