Please Help Me

Help for Needy Families

There are often times when even well off families need assistance. With the real estate market are the overall economy unpredictable, families could end up in financial troubles and need help. Fortunately for some, there are help for needy families programs. Unfortunately for others, these help for needy families assistance programs have limited funds.

If your family needs help, the first place to look for help is the TANF program or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF for short is a program by the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) located in the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program was created by the Welfare Reform Law of 1996. TANF became effective July 1, 1997. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families replaced:

  • welfare: Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and


  • the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) programs.


The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF was reauthorized in February 2006 under the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. TANF provides assistance as well as work opportunities for needy families.

TANF Help for Needy Families requirements:

  • TANF recipients (with few exceptions) must work as soon as they are job ready or no later than two years after coming on assistance.


  • Single parents are required to participate in work activities for at least 30 hours per week. Two-parent families must participate in work activities 35 or 55 hours a week, depending upon circumstances.


  • Failure to participate in work requirements can result in a reduction or termination of benefits to the family.


  • States cannot penalize single parents with a child under six for failing to meet work requirements if they cannot find adequate child care.
How long can I receive the help for needy families for?

Needy families with an adult who has received federally funded assistance for a total of five years (or less at state option) are not eligible for cash aid under the TANF program. States may extend assistance beyond 60 months to not more than 20 percent of their caseload. They may also elect to provide assistance to families beyond 60 months using state-only funds or Social Services Block Grants.