TANF and Support Services

What it is:

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families provides temporary cash for families in need. Some families participate in the WorkFirst Program. The WorkFirst Program helps participants find and keep jobs.

Persons who are caring for a relative's child, or legal guardians or are acting in the place of a parent are also able to apply for TANF benefits on behalf of these children through our Non-Needy Relative, In Loco Parentis and Legal Guardian Program.

Persons who are residents of Washington state and are ineligible for TANF solely because of eligibility changes due to the Welfare Reform Act may be eligible for State Family Assistance.

Persons who are eligible for the TANF program may also qualify for our Diversion Cash Assistance. Families who chose this program can get help with living expenses when a family needs short term assistance and meets program requirements.

Who is eligible:

Washington state residents who are responsible for the care of children or who are pregnant. Some of the requirements you must meet include:

  • Income and resource requirements.
  • Citizenship and alien status requirements.

Income and resource Requirements:

Your TANF benefits are based on your family size and income. A family of three, with no income, would receive a monthly TANF grant of $706, see WAC 388-478-0020. When a household member starts working, we only count half of the earnings against the grant. If a member of the household starts receiving unemployment or another type of unearned income, we would count the entire amount against the grant.

To be eligible for TANF, your family must have resources of $12,000 or less. Resources are things like:

  • Checking and savings accounts.
  • Stocks, bonds or mutual funds.
  • Additional vehicles (beyond your primary vehicle).

Your case manager will help you understand what income and resources we consider and how it will affect your case.

If you are found eligible for the TANF Program, you must:

  • Cooperate with the Division of Child Support.
    • Although you may request not to cooperate if it's not safe to do so.
  • If you are a parenting teen, live in an approved living situation.
  • Participate in the WorkFirst Program, if required.

The WorkFirst Program expects that you will:

  • Complete all requested reviews.
  • Participate in all required job search and work preparation activities.

Time limitations:

As of August 1997, TANF families are limited to 60 months of benefits in their lifetime unless they qualify for a time limit extension.

The WorkFirst Program assists you by:

  • Helping you pay for child care expenses through our Child Care Subsidy Program (formerly Working Connections Child Care).
  • Helping you with job search, including resume writing and job interview skills.
  • Providing you opportunities to get training to increase your skills and get a better job.

WorkFirst Performance Measures:

To learn more about WorkFirst and how participants engage in the program, including workforce participation, DSHS publishes outcome measures. These measures are available here each quarter as a resource for program staff, administrators, partners, and community members.

A job, a better job, a better life

If you are participating in the WorkFirst Program, your case manager will do everything possible to help you succeed. WorkFirst Support Services can help you with some of the expenses of getting and keeping a job, including:

  • Work clothing
  • Transportation
  • Educational expenses
  • Vehicle repair
  • Tools and equipment
  • Relocation expenses

Your case manager can tell you more about Support Services.

Read the EA-Z manual entry for TANF program.

For more information, please visit the official Washington State WorkFirst TANF website.

link to WorkFirst.wa.gov

How to Apply:

You can apply for TANF program online, by phone at 877-501-2233 or at your local Community Services Office.

As with all our programs, the only way to know for sure if you are eligible is to apply.

HIPAA Breach Notification for Economic Services Administration clients