As previously mentioned, states are dedicating less funding to TANF cash assistance programs and investing more of those eligible funds into self-sufficiency, work preparation, childcare and other programs. However, you have many other forms of financial assistance from other programs for those with low income.

Most families who would qualify for their state’s TANF program are likely to qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This federally funded program provides money to families who meet state income levels for low-income status to purchase healthy food from grocery stores. Depending on your income level and household size, you may be able to receive a food stipend with which you can purchase qualifying food items and products, including produce, meats, dairy products, frozen goods and more. While you may qualify for both TANF cash assistance and SNAP, SNAP is much more readily available than TANF. So, you might consider prioritizing your SNAP application over or after applying for TANF.

Comparing TANF to Other Assistance Programs
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Another transitionary financial assistance option you might consider is unemployment insurance. Every state is able to provide direct payments to people who lose their jobs for no fault of their own. In fact, some families who qualify for TANF may be in their situation due to a parent’s loss of employment. That means you should consider applying for unemployment insurance with your state’s department of economic development or office of unemployment benefits.

Since TANF is a temporary solution to falling on hard times, you may need more long-term assistance if your unemployment or underemployment is due to suffering from a debilitating injury, disability or medical condition. That’s why Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) exist. SSI provides financial assistance to U.S. citizens or qualified legal aliens who are elderly, blind or disabled and have limited income, limited resources (cash, investments, property, etc.). SSDI on the other hand is specifically for people with disabilities that prevent them from being able to work, regardless of age or income status. Both programs have stipulations defining qualifying disabilities and strict application requirements.

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