Temporary Assistance For Needy Families

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF /ˈtænɨf/) is one of the United States of America's federal assistance programs. It began on July 1, 1997, and succeeded the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, providing cash assistance to indigent American families with dependent children through the United States Department of Health and Human Services. This cash benefit is often referred to simply as "welfare."

TANF was created by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act instituted under President Bill Clinton in 1996. The Act provides temporary financial assistance while aiming to get people off of that assistance, primarily through employment. There is a maximum of 60 months of benefits within one's lifetime, but some states have instituted shorter periods. The reform granted states wide discretion of how to distribute TANF entitlements. States also have the authority to eliminate payments to recipients altogether. Under the new act, TANF recipients are required to find a job within 24 months of receiving aid. In enforcing the 60-month time limit, some states place limits on the adult portion of the assistance only, while still aiding the otherwise eligible children in the household.

Read more about Temporary Assistance For Needy FamiliesBackground, State Implementations, Funding and Eligibility, Impact of TANF, Reauthorization

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