Pennsylvania TANF

TANF provides very low-income Pennsylvanians with temporary financial assistance to help pay for food, shelter, utilities, and expenses other than medical.

As a condition of eligibility, you are required to complete and sign an agreement to engage in work activities that will lead to employment, unless otherwise exempt.

This process begins with an initial job search. You can participate in an initial job search with help from a caseworker at your local county assistance office.

If you’re approved for TANF in Pennsylvania, you’ll automatically receive medical assistance through the state’s Medicaid program. In addition, the state’s Child Care Works program helps pay for necessary child care while you’re fulfilling the work requirement.


Who qualifies for TANF in Pennsylvania? #


In order to qualify for welfare in Maryland, you must be a U.S. national, citizen, legal alien or permanent resident, and be unemployed or under employed (working for very low wages). You must also be a resident of the state of Pennsylvania.

How do I apply for cash assistance in PA? #


Now you can apply for TANF from the comfort of your home using COMPASS — an online application for Pennsylvanians to apply for benefits including SNAP.

If approved for TANF, your benefits are deposited using Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) onto a “Pennsylvania Access Card” which can be used wherever EBT is accepted or to withdraw cash at an ATM.

How long can you be on welfare in PA? #


TANF is intended to be a temporary means of support while families work towards self- sufficiency. In Pennsylvania, receipt of cash assistance is limited to no more than 60 months in a lifetime.

However, you may continue to be eligible for cash assistance benefits after the five-year limit has ended through “Extended TANF”.

You may be eligible for Extended TANF if:

  • You have a family crisis.
  • You are caring for an individual who is disabled.
  • You have a child under the age of 12 months.
  • You are able to work, but can’t find a job.
  • You are working or in an approved training program.
  • You or a family member is a victim of domestic violence.
  • You have physical or mental condition that prevents you from working.

Emergency Assistance Program (EAP) #

Department of Human Services (DHS) announced an Emergency Assistance Program (EAP) to help low-income families who lost wages experiencing financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Families who qualify will be eligible for a one-time payment equal to two months of TANF benefits to assist them in meeting basic needs.

The emergency assistance application is available online beginning Monday, May 11 through June 12 or until all funds are exhausted.

If you need assistance, you can call your local county assistance office or the HelpLine at 1-800-692-7462.