Arkansas TANF

Arkansas Transitional Employment Assistance (TEA) is a time-limited welfare program to help needy families in Arkansas become more responsible for their own support.

Through training, education and work activities, TEA aims to reduce dependence of needy parents on public assistance.

Benefits may include cash payments, childcare assistance, help with transportation, employment-related services, including job-readiness activities, and other supportive services.

Currently Arkansas has the lowest monthly benefit levels for TANF in the country, at $204 per month for a family of three with no income.

In addition, the law limits the receipt of TEA benefits to no more than 24 months 12 months, unless otherwise transitioned into Arkansas Work Pays.

Arkansas has just signed a law that cut the time families could receive TANF funds from 24 months to 12 months. 1


Who qualifies for TEA in Arkansas? #

To qualify for welfare in Arkansas, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Be a resident of the state of Arkansas
  2. Be a US citizen, national, legal alien or permanent resident
  3. Qualify as a low-income family
  4. Be responsible for a child under the age of 18

What is the income limit for TANF in Arkansas? #

A family in Arkansas is considered “needy” when their countable income is less than $223 a month. This one income limit applies to all family sizes. The limit for countable resources is $3,000.

How much does TEA pay in Arkansas? #

Arkansas’ cash assistance benefit level is the lowest in the country at only $204 per month for a family of three with little or no income and it's time-limited.

As the focus of TANF is self-sufficiency through work, all work-eligible recipients of TEA cash assistance must actively seek employment or participate in work activities for a specified number of hours per week.

How much is the diversion payment in Arkansas? #

A diversion payment may be provided to an otherwise eligible TEA family in certain specified circumstances by providing a lump-sum cash payment up to a maximum equal to three (3) months of what the monthly TEA cash assistance would have been for the family size.

Under Arkansas State Law, a diversion payment is considered a loan. If the diversion loan is repaid, then it does not count toward the time limit. If it is not repaid, then it does count toward the time limit.

How do I apply for the TEA program? #

Application for Transitional Employment Assistance (TEA) can be filed in person at the Department of Human Services (DHS) office in the county where you reside. 2

You may also apply online at Access Arkansas — the self-service online portal provided by the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS).

After your application is filed, an interview will be arranged to determine your family’s eligibility, either in-person or over-the-phone.

For more information about Arkansas TEA, call
Arkansas Department of Human Services


  1. FOX13 Memphis. New Arkansas bill cuts time allowed for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in half.
  2. Effective July 1, 2023, individuals seeking assistance with Transitional Employment Assistance (TEA) will need to contact or visit their local DHS county office rather than an Arkansas Workforce Center.
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