District of Columbia TANF

Updated June 21, 2019

TANF provides temporary cash assistance to needy families with children. Only families with very low-incomes are eligible to apply for DC’s TANF program.

Apart from cash assistance, the District provides job training, job readiness, child care, tuition assistance, case management, and other supportive services.

A central component of the DC’s TANF program is its emphasis on “self-sufficiency through work”. For this reason, all work-eligible families are expected to participate in work activities as a condition of receiving cash benefits, or face reductions in benefits.

There is no time limit to how long a family can receive TANF in District.01 Eligible families may receive TANF longer than the 60-month lifetime cap on benefits.



  • How much is TANF in DC?

    Currently, the monthly TANF benefit for a family of three in DC is $576 a month, regardless of how long the family has been in the TANF program.02

    When you get a job and keep it for at least two weeks you will receive a bonus of $150, and an additional bonus of $500 if you keep your job for six months.

You must apply for TANF in person at your nearest Economic Security Administration (ESA) Service Center. An interview will be arranged to determine your eligibility.

To locate your nearest ESA Service Center, call
(202) 727-5355

  1. As of October 1, 2017, DC eliminated the 60-month time limit for families who receive TANF.
  2. Prior to 2018, the benefit for a family of three over 60 months is only $154 per month.