Temporary Assistance To Needy Families (TANF)
WHAT IS TANF/WFNJ?
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families is a time limited federal program designed to provide temporary cash payments to families with minor children who have little or no income. A block of money is appropriated to each state, which may design its own program. In New Jersey, Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) is the state program created to help such families. This program is state supervised, but administered through the county.
Under TANF/WFNJ a family may receive assistance for a lifetime total of sixty months. These months do not have to be consecutive and may be accumulated over many years. Also, any assistance received in any other state counts toward the lifetime limit. Disabled persons and those over 60 years of age are not included in this limit nor are children under age 18.
WHO MAY BE ELIGIBLE?
Eligibility for this program is contingent upon having minor children in the home. The youngest child must be under 18 years of age or over 18 if a full time high school student expected to graduate before the 19th birthday. Single and two parent families may be eligible.
In some cases eligibility may exist when neither parent is in the home and the child(ren) is being cared for by a blood related relative (referred to as a parent-person) who may choose whether or not to receive assistance along with the child. Persons who have legal custody of an unrelated child may also apply for assistance.
U.S. citizens and certain other legal aliens who have resided in the U.S. for five years are eligible. Persons who are not citizens will have to provide proof of their status and date of entry through the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS
All applicants including children must provide a social security number or proof that an application has been made recently.
HOW MUCH MONEY CAN ONE EXPECT TO RECEIVE?
The amount of money a family receives depends upon the number of eligible persons in the household. If a family has no outside income, the eligible unit will receive the maximum payment amount for that size unit.
Benefits are issued through a Family First card that looks like a credit card and is used to access benefits at bank cash machines that display the Quest logo.
WHAT IF THERE IS OTHER INCOME?
If a family receives social security, unemployment, veteran or any other type of monthly benefits, the amount of the payment is subtracted from the payment standard and the family will receive the difference. All applicants and clients must apply for any benefits that may be due them from any other program as a condition of TANF/WFNJ eligibility.
WHAT IF A TANF/WFNJ CHILD IS RECEIVING CHILD SUPPORT?
All child support designated for any child receiving TANF/WFNJ must be assigned to the Somerset County Board of Social Services. The applicant or client must sign over all rights to child support as a condition of eligibility. Each month, up to the first $50 of child support collected will be sent by the Board of Social Services to the client. This money is in addition to the regular monthly TANF/WFNJ grant. If the amount of monthly child support received less $50 is more than the payment standard amount, the family will be ineligible for an TANF/WFNJ money payment. The TANF/WFNJ case will be closed and the child support will be sent directly to them from the Probation Department each month. In addition, they will be eligible to receive 4 months of extended Medicaid.
WHAT IF A TANF/WFNJ CHILD IS NOT RECEIVING CHILD SUPPORT?
All applicants and clients, as a condition of eligibility must cooperate in establishing paternity and/or in seeking child support for TANF/WFNJ children. Persons who refuse to cooperate without good cause will be ineligible to receive any assistance. The child(ren) may only receive Medicaid. When child support is received, the clients will receive the extra payment described above.
CAN A PERSON WORK AND RECEIVE TANF/WFNJ ASSISTANCE?
Families who apply in which one or both parents are working may be eligible if the total family income is not above 150% of the maximum payment for the size of the eligible unit. If they meet that eligibility requirement, 50% of the earned income will be disregarded in determining the amount of the cash assistance to be received.
On Going Clients
When clients secure employment, 100% of their earnings will be disregarded for the first month. Thereafter 50% of their earned income will be disregarded. When the earned income, even with the disregard, exceeds the grant amount for the size of the eligible unit; the family may be eligible to receive 24 months of Medicaid.
HOW MUCH CAN RELATIVES RECEIVE FOR TANF/WFNJ CHILDREN?
Relatives and legal guardians who apply for TANF/WFNJ eligible children can choose whether or not they wish to apply for themselves. If they do, they will be included in the eligible unit and their income and resources will be used to determine eligibility and grant size. If they do not, only the related children will be included and the income and resources of the parent-person or legal guardian will not be considered in determining eligibility or grant amount.
CAN A PERSON OWN A CAR AND RECEIVE TANF/WFNJ?
An applicant or client may own a car if the fair market value is $9,500 or less.
CAN A PERSON HAVE A BANK ACCOUNT AND RECEIVE TANF/WFNJ?
Applicants and clients may have up to $2,000 in liquid assets and be eligible to receive TANF/WFNJ assistance.
CAN A PERSON OWN A HOME AND RECEIVE TANF/WFNJ?
The home in which an applicant or client resides is an exempt resource, as long as they remain there.
EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING
Under TANF/WFNJ all applicants and clients who are not disabled or have children over 3 months of age must look for employment. New applicants who are unemployed will be required to do a four week job search. Those who are still unemployed will be required to participate in an employment related, education or training program. The agency will place clients in local government or non-profit agencies. Transportation and child care will be provided.
Child care will be provided as needed to those persons who are looking for employment, or participating in the Training and Education Programs. Financial assistance will be provided to clients who are employed and must pay for child care. Those who become ineligible for assistance due to earned income will receive assistance in paying child care costs for 24 months after discharge. Child care assistance is provided through Catholic Charities which is the designated Single Child Care Entity in Somerset County.
Most recipients of TANF/WFNJ will be eligible to receive Medicaid. Persons who become ineligible to receive cash assistance due to earned income or the receipt of unemployment or temporary disability payments may receive an extension of Medicaid for 24 months. However, since August 22, 1996 eligibility for Medicaid is based upon different income standards and different disregards than TANF/WFNJ. Medicaid eligibility should be discussed at the time of application and regularly thereafter with the agency worker.
610 Franklin Blvd.
Somerset, NJ 08873-1144
FAX: (732) 846-5713
8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
73 East High Street
Somerville, NJ 08876-0936
Phone: (908) 526-8800
FAX: (908) 203-9991
8:15 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
391-D Somerset Street
North Plainfield, NJ 07060
FAX: (908) 561-6567
8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.