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Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

(Basic Eligibility for TANF Cash Assistance)

TANF cash assistance is a program providing temporary financial assistance to needy families. The receipt of TANF cash assistance is limited to 60 months in an adult's lifetime. Temporary financial assistance may be provided to the following families and individuals:

  1. Minor Children;
  2. Specified relatives with whom the children are living;
  3. The minor children's blood-related/adoptive siblings with whom the children are living;
  4. Pregnant women in their last trimester who have no other eligible children; and
  5. Refugees with minor dependent children.

Temporary financial assistance will not be provided to the following:

  1. Minor children who are absent from the home for a period of 90 consecutive days;
  2. Familes whose specified caretaker relatives do not assign certain child support rights to the State;
  3. Familes whose specified caretaker relative does not cooperate in establishing paternity or obtaining child support as required;
  4. Familes containing an adult who has received 60 months of TANF cash assistance, unless an extension is granted by the State.
  5. Persons receiving SSI;
  6. Teenage parents not living in adult-supervised settings as defined by the State;
  7. Fugitive felons and probation and parole violators;
  8. Individuals convicted after August 22, 1996 (under Federal or State law), of any offense which is classified as a felony and which has an element the possession, use, or distribution of a controlled substance, unless the individual is complying with the conditions of supervision or if the sentence associated with the felony conviction has been discharged and the individual is actively participating in treatment, if required.
  9. Individuals found to have fraudulently misrepresented residence in order to obtain assistance in two or more states;
  10. Caretaker relatives who fail to notify the State of a child's absence from the home for a period of 90 or more days:
  11. Minor children receiving Foster Care Payments unless the absence is considered temporary (not to exceed 90 days); and
  12. Ineligible or illegal aliens.

Eligibility for TANF cash assistance is determined by evaluating specific nonfinancial and financial criteria established by federal and state regulations. Families and individuals must meet the following nonfinancial criteria:

  1. Age limitations (dependent children only);
  2. Minor living with a specified caretaker relative as a dependent child;
  3. Furnishing a social security number;
  4. Residency (intending to reside in the state) requirements;
  5. Citizenship/alien status requirements;
  6. Cooperating with Child Support Enforcement (CSED), Third Party Liability (TPL) and Health Insurance Premium Payment System (HIPPS);
  7. Cooperating with program integrity reviews; and
  8. Negotiating, signing and complying with all requirements of the Family Investment Agreement/WoRC Employability Plan (FIA/EP).

Families and individuals must also meet the following financial criteria:

  1. Countable resources must be less than $3,000;
    *Resources are real and personal property owned by the family or individual as of the date of application. Some resources can be excluded from consideration such as the home of usual residence and basic maintenance items essential for day-to-day living;
  2. Countable income (earned or unearned), which is determined by allowing the appropriate income disregards, cannot exceed the income standards for the family size requesting assistance; and
  3. The right to any child support payments must be assigned to the State.

Following is a table showing different family sizes and the income amounts used to test for initial and on-going eligibility for the appropriate family size:

Family Size


Benefit Standard

Payment Standard

1 577 245 298
2 777 330 401
3 979 415 504
4 1178 500 606
5 1378 585 709
6 1580 670 812
7 1780 755 915
8 1980 840 1018
9 2179 925 1121
10 2381 1010 1223
11 2581 1095 1326
12 2781 1180 1429
13 2980 1265 1532
14 3182 1350 1635
15 3382 1435 1738
16 3582 1520 1841
17 3783 1605 1943
18 3983 1690 2046
19 4183 1775 2149
20 4383 1860 2252

GMI= Gross Monthly Income Standards effective 10/01/2010
Benefit Standard effective 10/01/2010
Payment Standard effective 07/01/2009

To Apply For TANF

  1. Apply online at apply.mt.gov.
  2. Call or visit your local Office of Public Assistance.
  3. Download the PDF application.
Page last updated: 03/19/2014