How Can Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Help You?

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a government program, managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).


This program provides grant funds to states and territories to provide families with financial assistance and related support services. TANF provides states and territories with flexibility in operating programs designed to help low-income families with children achieve economic self-sufficiency. States use TANF to fund monthly cash assistance payments to low-income families with children, as well as a wide range of additional services.


This program does not directly offer cash assistance to individual citizens, but instead provides financial grants to states who use their TANF grants to fund monthly cash assistance payments to low income families with children. This monthly assistance aims to support needy families and end dependence cycles by promoting job preparation and work.


Who is eligible for TANF?

To be eligible for TANF, you must be a resident of the state in which you apply. Eligibility may vary slightly by state, but in general you must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or legally qualified alien. You must be unemployed or underemployed and have low or very low income. You must also be one of the following:

  • Have a child 18 years of age or younger, or 

  • Be pregnant, or 

  • Be 18 years of age or younger and the head of your household.

To quickly check you and your family’s Eligibility for TANF, visit the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services program page at https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/programs/temporary-assistance-for-needy-families/ .


How do I find out more about TANF?

 If you think the TANF program may be a good fit for your family, a great place to learn more is the TANF Frequently Asked Questions