TANF Application Denials and Appeals in Virginia


A TANF denial occurs when applicants are ineligible for benefits as determined by the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS). Petitioners may appeal TANF denial letter notices to attempt to receive benefits and argue that the VDSS has incorrectly or unjustly decided their eligibility. However, the act of appealing TANF decisions can be complicated and risky. Since appeals take place in courts as legal hearings, it is important to fully understand the repercussions involved in appealing the VDSS and the process of appealing for benefits. The denial of TANF benefits can cause significant problems for needy families, so appeals must be carefully considered. Appeals can be made for various reasons related to TANF benefits and should be assessed as viable options for residents who have been wrongly denied benefits. To learn why TANF denials may occur, how to avoid potential actions that may result in denials or how to recover from a benefit denial, review the following sections. For more information on denials and appeals, download our comprehensive guide here.

Common Reasons for a TANF Benefits Denial in Virginia

Most residents denied benefits through TANF in Virginia do not meet the eligibility requirements of the program. Petitioners will receive a TANF benefits denial notice if they do not qualify as a family, meet the income requirements or are otherwise considered ineligible for the program. For instance, adults cannot enroll in the TANF benefit program if they are not responsible for the care of a child. Single parents who do not comply with the VA Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) regarding child support payments will not be granted benefits even if they meet all other qualifications.

Current beneficiaries may be denied benefits through TANF eligibility if they do not meet their personal responsibilities such as school and work requirements. Enrollees receive a TANF benefits denial notice and can lose TANF benefits if a school-aged child in the household is not enrolled in school or stops attending. Likewise, adults who are required to make efforts to obtain work or fulfill employment training will be removed from the program. Beneficiaries who commit an intentional program violation (IPV) will be disqualified from benefits. Find out about the ongoing requirements to maintain TANF eligibility in Virginia by downloading our detailed guide.

Other situations may result in bANF benefit denials, but TANF applicants will be informed of the specific reasons for disqualification when it occurs. Since VA TANF applications automatically apply for SNAP benefits as well as TANF benefits, TANF denials may happen due to applicants’ ineligibility for SNAP.

Residents need to remember the possibility of being denied TANF benefits and access to other government services if there is a change in their situation. TANF benefits denials can occur when adult beneficiaries gain employment, as the purpose of the program is to encourage self-sufficiency. Likewise, if the qualifying ages out, then benefit may end.

How You Will Be Notified of Your Application’s Rejection in Virginia

Residents are notified of denied TANF benefits through written correspondence from the VDSS. A TANF denial will be outlined in a physical letter, email or text message depending on residents’ preferred methods of communication listed on TANF applications. For instance, if residents choose to receive either text or email messages notifying them of benefits changes, then they may indicate their preference on the online TANF application website. If residents do not choose to be notified by text or email, then they will receive letters through the mail regarding their benefit denials or disqualifications.

However, some TANF denials may result in automatic hearings that are used to decide whether a resident is guilty of an IPV. An Administrative Disqualification Hearing (ADH) will be scheduled to review these cases. In these cases, a TANF denial letter will be accompanied by a notice containing the important information regarding the program violation and will be delivered to residents at least 30 days prior to the hearing.

TANF Appeals in Virginia

The denied TANF benefits appeal process is the formal act of disputing the VDSS. TANF appeals demand residents to understand TANF eligibility requirements and may be requested for many reasons. While appealing TANF denial letters does not guarantee residents TANF benefits, it does allow their eligibility for benefits to be reassessed carefully and with considerations that residents may believe were not given in the initial assessment.

To complete a timely TANF denial appeal, residents must fill out and submit a form after receiving written notice of the denial. However, a TANF appeal may be made orally. The appeal must contain the following information to be valid:

  • The action the VDSS is proposing
  • The reason why residents oppose the action
  • Contact information of legal representatives (if applicable)
  • The resident’s signature

Written TANF appeals may be mailed to the VDSS. After the VDSS receives the TANF denial appeal, petitioners will wait for a hearing date to be determined. Households should gather information and documents that establish eligibility for TANF benefits during this time. After attending the appeal hearing, VA residents will receive the verdict, which will either overturn or maintain the denial decision.

Virginia Department of Social Services