How to Qualify for Welfare in Georgia

The Welfare Program was replaced by Temporary Assistance for Needy Families under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996. The goal of the program is to help struggling families get back on their feet by providing temporary cash assistance benefits. In addition to meeting general eligibility guidelines, applicants also must fulfill work requirements to receive TANF in Georgia.

General Requirements

There are certain general requirements you must meet to qualify for TANF. You must:

  • Be a Georgia resident
  • Have a Social Security number for all household members
  • Be pregnant or have a child under 18 living in the home -- 19 if the child is a full-time student
  • Establish paternity of the child
  • Cooperate with child support enforcement
  • Apply for other benefits you may be eligible for, such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income or unemployment compensation
  • Meet the income limits based on household size
  • Work at least 30 hours a week or participate in a work-related activity
  • Ensure children ages 6 to 17 are attending school
  • Keep preschool age children up-to-date on their immunizations

Income and Assets Limits

Income limits are based on the number of people living in the home. For example, as of 2015 a family of three must have a monthly income of $784 or less. A family of four can't exceed $925 a month in income. Sources of income include wages, unemployment benefits, Social Security benefits and child support.

The household's countable assets are limited to $1,000. Your home and vehicle are excluded, but money in the bank, stocks, bonds, securities, mutual funds and tax refunds are examples of countable assets.

Deprivation

According to the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, the child must be "deprived" due to certain conditions to qualify for TANF. Deprivation can occur as a result of:

  • The continued absence of a parent from the home

  • The physical or mental incapacity of a parent

  • The death of a parent

  • A parent's recent connection to the workforce

Work Requirements

TANF is designed to help parents achieve economic self-sufficiency. The program requires all able-bodied parents to work at least 30 hours a week. If you are under-employed or can't find employment, the program has acceptable work alternatives, such as job readiness training.

Applying for TANF

The Georgia Common Point of Access to Social Services site provides an online test to help determine if you're eligible for TANF based on questions you answer about your household. The tests only helps you determine eligibility. You'll still need to apply for benefits for a final decision.

Online applications for TANF aren't available. You'll need to apply in person at the Department of Family and Children Services office in your county. You can call to schedule an appointment and inquire about any documents you'll need to bring, such as Social Security numbers for household members, photo identification, pay stubs and W-2 forms.

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