Eligibility for TANF in Virginia


The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) determines who qualifies for TANF through specific income, residency and other requirements established on a state or federal level. Residents often ask, “What are the income limits for TANF?” when exploring the cash benefits issued by the program. Income limits are contingent on the federal poverty guidelines as well as the number of family members in the applying household. In addition to the national income qualifications, VDSS sets state-specific eligibility requirements that applicants and enrollees must abide by. TANF eligibility depends on a few factors that the state assesses during the application process and throughout the benefit period. For instance, TANF requirements in Virginia include that certain petitioners address problems related to childcare and employment. Since the ultimate purpose of the TANF program is to help families become self-sufficient, beneficiaries must fulfill work and other obligations to remain eligible for benefits. To learn whether you qualify for TANF benefits and if the program is a viable welfare option for you, review the following sections.

Who can receive benefits from TANF in Virginia?

TANF eligibility in Virginia depends on a few factors that must be assessed during the application process. TANF eligible applicants will demonstrate a significant financial need, live in the state of Virginia and have at least one dependent child in their homes, as benefits intend to provide parents and caregivers with cash assistance to care for their children. At least one minor child must live in the household for the petitioning family to be eligible for cash benefits. Adult residents without children may not receive benefits. According to TANF requirements in Virginia, the child or children must meet age and citizenship qualifications. For more information on TANF requirements on age and citizenship including which immigrants are eligible for benefits, download our comprehensive guide here.

In addition to the TANF requirements on age and eligible citizenship, families must demonstrate a financial need to receive cash benefits. Income limits for TANF in Virginia are dependent on household size and the area where they live. Petitioning households must not have monthly earnings higher than the bracket in which they fit. For example, income limits vary for families living in Northern Virginia, rural areas and most urban locations. However, not all earnings may contribute to the collective income of the household. Likewise, some expenses may be deducted from the families earnings, allowing them to qualify for TANF benefits. TANF guidelines ensure that only families with very low incomes receive benefits, so families learn which documents to present during the TANF application process as proof of their household incomes.

What are the ongoing TANF eligibility requirements in Virginia?

Initial TANF eligibility is primarily determined by residents’ incomes, residency and citizenship. However, applicants must continue to meet TANF requirements throughout the benefit period by maintaining work and school obligations as well as assist with child support situations. Children must attend school regularly if they are of school age (between five and 18 years of age). The Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare (VIEW) is the TANF work program that adult beneficiaries are required to participate in after receiving benefits. VIEW adheres to the main goal of TANF benefits to help families become independent. VIEW promotes employment for TANF beneficiaries to supplement their cash payments and allow them to provide for themselves after their enrollment period in TANF ends. TANF work requirements demand that beneficiaries be involved in work activities such as job training for a minimum number of hours per week unless they qualify for an exemption due to their health, age or roles as caregivers. Download our comprehensive guide to find out if you qualify for a work exemption while collecting TANF benefits in Virginia.

During the TANF eligibility interview, a VDSS employee will disseminate all eligibility-related restrictions. For single parents to qualify for TANF benefits, they must cooperate with the Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) to recover child support payments and tell their local VDSS offices about absent parents when applicable. While child support payments help beneficiaries receive complete TANF benefits, two-parent households may still be eligible for TANF benefits.

Who is not eligible to receive TANF benefits in Virginia?

Applicants will not qualify for TANF if they do not have a qualified minor in their home. Households with earning higher than the income limits for TANF will also not receive monthly cash benefits from the program. The state will close cases for petitioners who do not sign the Agreement of Personal Responsibility even if they meet the other TANF requirements. It is important for beneficiaries to know the ongoing requirements of the TANF program and continue to adhere to the Agreement of Personal Responsibility they signed or risk non-compliance. Applicants who have been charged with non-compliance sanctions may not receive benefits. Non-compliance includes not cooperating with the work requirements or child support enforcement. Three sanctions related to welfare abuse or the failure to uphold TANF eligibility will result in a permanent TANF disqualification.

Virginia Department of Social Services