The Department of Human Services is dedicated to helping low-income families become independent while they receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, TANF, benefits. TANF is also referred to as "cash assistance".
The TANF program provides money to help:
Application for cash assistance, SNAP and Medical Assistance Benefits (English version)
Solicitud para recibir beneficios (Version Española)
If you need help completing the application form or need more information about benefits, trained workers at your county assistance office can help you.
Are You Eligible?
To be eligible for cash assistance/TANF, you must meet certain requirements. Workers at the county assistance office can provide more information on all of these requirements:
How Long Can I Receive cash assistance?
You can receive cash assistance for 60 months TOTAL (five years) over the course of your lifetime.
Summary of Key Issues
As required by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, each state must submit a TANF state plan to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). State Plans may be amended at any time. The updated State Plan will be submitted to DHHS in December 2014.
The following questions and answers highlight changes that have been made to Pennsylvania’s TANF program:
|What are the major changes in the new State Plan?||Pennsylvania’s State Plan includes these changes: |
Removal of Annual and Lifetime Limits for Contractor Referrals
As of March 2014, the annual and lifetime contractor referral limits were lifted from all Employment and Training (E&T) programs. To ensure that cash recipients engage in work and move themselves and their families off of cash assistance, E&T programs need to be kept available to help assist these individuals.
Changes to RESET Sanction Policy
Effective July 1, 2012, when a cash assistance recipient, mandatory for the Road to Economic Self-Sufficiency through Employment and Training (RESET), is determined to be willfully non-compliant with one or more RESET requirements, a sanction will be imposed as a first, second, or third-level sanction. No pre or post designation will be applied regardless of how long the recipient or budget group has received cash assistance. Sanctions do not apply to cash assistance recipients who meet good cause criteria or an exemption.
Updates to Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Transactions Policy
Section 4004 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 requires states to implement policies and procedures to prevent the use of TANF funds through electronic benefits transfers in liquor stores, casinos and adult-oriented entertainment establishments in which performers disrobe or perform in an unclothed state for entertainment. This act also requires states to establish policies which ensure recipients of assistance have access to using or withdrawing assistance with minimal fees or charges, including an opportunity to access assistance with no fees or charges; and are provided information on applicable fees and surcharges that apply to electronic fund transactions involving the assistance; and that such information is made publicly available.
|How do I comment on the TANF State Plan?||DHS invites public comment on all aspects of the TANF State Plan. Comments may be sent to: |
Mr. Matthew J. McLees
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is required by federal regulation to submit the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Caseload Reduction Report (form ACF-202) in order to secure a caseload reduction credit.
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) established mandatory work requirements and minimum annual work participation rate standards for States' TANF programs. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 reestablished work requirements. The minimum overall work participation rate is 50% in Fiscal Year 2015. This means that 50% of all families receiving TANF in Pennsylvania must meet work requirements. The minimum work participation rate for two-parent families is 90% in Fiscal Year 2015. This means that 90% of two-parent families receiving TANF in Pennsylvania must meet work requirements.
Federal regulations provide for a reduction in the minimum work participation rate standards if the state's average monthly assistance caseload decreased the previous year compared to the average monthly caseload in Fiscal Year 2005. The participation rate is reduced by the number of percentage points the caseload declined.
For this report to be complete, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services must provide appropriate opportunity for public comment on these estimates and methodologies used to calculate the Caseload Reduction Credit.
The Fiscal Year 2017 report will list relevant policy changes, excess MOE and the Reduction Credit calculation.
You may review the report here.
Public comments regarding the report may be submitted by email to Rafirstname.lastname@example.org. The comment period ends December 30, 2016.