Temporary Assistance to Needy Families



How can I get some TANF money? TANF funding is made available to different state agencies through the state budget. These agencies receive a specific appropriation for a particular service (like afterschool tutoring, pre-k, job training, etc). These agencies will then contract out to different service providers who can offer that service. Providers who receive a contract for services are selected through a competitive process, or request for proposals (RFP) process. This process usually happens around July 1 which is the beginning of the state fiscal year and is the only opportunity for funding to be dispersed throughout the year. If you have an interest in a particular service, you should contact the state agency who administers that particular TANF servicemost of the TANF initiatives are not operated through the Department of Social Services.

What is TANF?
TANF stands for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and is the program that replaced the old welfare program called Aid to Families with Dependent Children or AFDC. In 1996, the Federal Government created TANF to help low-income families leave welfare and become self-sufficient by giving TANF money to each state so they could create the kinds of programs that would accomplish that in their state. Louisiana spends part of its TANF money on helping welfare families but has allowed more families to benefit from TANF programs and services by assisting those who do not currently, nor have ever received welfare benefits.

Do I need to be on welfare to use TANF programs and services?
No. Many of our services are designed to serve parents, children and teenagers even if they do not currently receive welfare. Some of our other services use income to determine eligibility, but it is different than the scale used for welfare. For example, a family of three making $2,438 or less a month would qualify for services like education and training.

How do I qualify for TANF programs and services?
Services such as Pre-k, after school and youth development activities for children and teenagers do not require eligibility. Generally, TANF programs and services are for a family of three making less than $30,000 a year with minor children under the age of 18. This includes a mother or father whose minor child lives with them, or whose minor child is supported by them if they live outside the home, or a mother and father whose children live with them both. It is not necessary for these families to receive welfare past or present. TANF doesn't help elderly individuals or those families without a minor child, even if they are low-income. Our services are on a first-come, first-serve basis, so even if your family is eligible for a TANF program or service, participation depends on availability.

What information do I need to bring to an agency to determine if I qualify for TANF programs and services? 
For the programs that require eligibility, you must provide proof of your income with things like a pay stub, tax return, or note from your employer. For proof that you are the parent of a minor child, you can provide things like a birth certificate, immunization records or baptism records.

Do I have to go to the Department of Social Services to apply for TANF programs and services?
No. Most of the TANF programs and services are available in local communities through local agencies. To find out if your area has a TANF program or service, call 1-800-706-TANF (8263). If you want information about basic welfare or childcare assistance, you can contact the Department of Social Services, Office of Family Support at 225-342-3950.

Are all TANF programs and services available in all areas?
Some TANF programs and services are limited to specific areas, while others are available more generally. Most TANF programs and services are available in some of the larger metropolitan areas like New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Lafayette and Monroe.  

What TANF Does

What is TANF?
TANF is Louisiana's Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program. It is a group of programs and services that help people break away from what's holding them back. It's not a welfare program or a handout - it's real help for those who are ready to break the cycle.

What does TANF do?
TANF organizes programs to help children, teenagers and parents across Louisiana. It is our job to get the word out to all Louisiana families who are ready to change their life for the better.

What are the current TANF programs and services?
We focus on three areas that can lead to stronger families and better lives: education and literacy, employment and family stability.

What does "low-income family" mean?
TANF has rules about who can qualify for certain kinds of programs. TANF programs are for parents with minor children. (Sorry, our programs do not serve the elderly or adults without children.) Also, some of the TANF programs are for "low-income" families. This doesn't mean that a family is poor or not as good as any other family. It just means that they might not be able to afford some of the services that could help them. For example, a family of three that earns less than $30,000 a year can qualify for TANF assistance. If you have questions, please call the free TANF number, 1-800-706-8263.

How can TANF help?
If you or anyone you know wants to change their situation, please call this free number: 1-800-706-8263 (or 1-800-706-TANF). We'll provide you with information about TANF programs and services that may be of assistance.
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