How to Apply for TANF in Virginia


A TANF application is available to all Virginia residents wishing to obtain welfare services. Eligible applicants should learn how to apply for TANF program to facilitate the application process and ensure that they receive all benefits possible. While there is no deadline to sign up for TANF program benefits, applications should be completed quickly to account for the wait most applicants experience as their applications are being evaluated. However, other factors may affect benefits and may require residents to apply sooner. To answer the question, “When can you apply for TANF?” applicants must consider their current situations. A TANF application form will be accessible at any local VA Department of Social Services (VDSS) office whenever residents choose to apply. Additionally, residents may find applications online. To learn how to complete a TANF application for benefits, review the following sections. For more information on the application process, download our comprehensive guide here.

What are the different TANF application methods available in Virginia?

Applicants can sign up for TANF program in various ways. However, each method for applying for TANF involves completing and submitting an application. Residents can apply online through the state’s online system, where they may also check to see if they are eligible for TANF benefits. While applicants do not have to complete eligibility screenings to apply for benefits, the screening is a helpful tool for potential applicants. Not only will the online screening inform applicants on their eligibility status, but it will also save ineligible applicants time they would have spent completing the application. Applicants must create an online account to apply for TANF program benefits. The entire TANF application can be filled out electronically. However, TANF interviews must still be scheduled. A TANF representative will contact applicants to schedule an eligibility interview once the state receives and processes online applications. Eligibility interviews will expound upon the information on TANF application forms and further determine TANF eligibility.

The next TANF application method involves visiting local social services offices. Residents may request a TANF application form by visiting their local social services offices in person. TANF representatives will supply requesting applicants with applications that they may submit the same day. However, applicants may also decide to bring TANF applications downloaded from the state website to complete with help from a representative if they need assistance. Interviews can be held prior to the submission of applications, but the applications must be fully completed and collected during the interview to confirm or deny TANF eligibility.

Residents can also apply for TANF via mail after downloading an application, picking one up in person or requesting one sent to their residence. Requesting a TANF application via telephone is also available for residents without internet access or reliable transportation. Applicants must also schedule an eligibility interview to complete their applications, which may be granted over the phone.

Information You Have to Provide When Applying to Virginia TANF

Signing up for TANF necessitates sharing personal information on TANF applications. Each TANF application method will require applicants to provide the following types of information:

  • Full names of all applicants and household members
  • Social Security Numbers for all residents seeking benefits (including children)
  • Citizenship information for all applicants
  • The type and amount of government benefits applicants may have already received or are currently receiving
  • Relevant disabilities
  • Military status (if applicable)
  • Immunization records for children younger than 18 years of age
  • Employment information for all applicants including wages
  • Current addresses and phone numbers

TANF applications must be signed and dated to be valid. In addition to providing the above information on the TANF application form, petitioners are required to furnish documents as evidence of the details furnished. Any discrepancies in information given on TANF applications will be investigated and compared to federal, state and local records. Severe penalties, including ineligibility for TANF benefits, may result from providing fraudulent information. Residents are required to report any changes that may alter the information listed on TANF applications within 10 days following the change. This rule exists because changes in personal information may affect applicants’ eligibility. Additionally, failing to report significant application changes may repudiate the application. Download our comprehensive guide for details on documents that are needed during the TANF application process.

When You Should Apply for Virginia TANF

Applicants should apply for the TANF program when they experience significant financial need. However, residents may apply for TANF even if they are unsure of their eligibility. Residents should be aware of their abilities to complete any requirements that may apply to them if enrolled in the TANF program. These requirements may include mandatory work activities or child support restrictions. Although exemptions are granted to some applicants for health reasons or other risk factors, applying residents should be sure they may complete these requirements prior to applying. Residents can withdraw their TANF applications at any time while they are being processed.

Virginia Department of Social Services