TANF Benefit Extensions in Virginia

A TANF benefits extension is not the same as reapplying for TANF benefits. A Virginia TANF extension is granted to residents experiencing extreme hardship and who meet predetermined eligibility criteria. While regular TANF benefits may be provided to residents for a significant period, some residents still require additional assistance to reach complete financial independence. The time limit on TANF benefits can restrict residents from fully utilizing services. Therefore, VA offers extensions to deserving beneficiaries who have exceeded their TANF allotments. To determine if residents can get a TANF benefits extension, an evaluation must be performed. Residents are subject to reevaluations assessing their progress during their participation in TANF. The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) determines if TANF extensions are available to existing program beneficiaries. To better understand how to extend TANF benefits and when you are qualified to do so, review the following sections.

The Purpose of Virginia TANF Extensions

Extending TANF benefits can allow more families to reach financial autonomy if they did not receive sufficient support during the regular TANF benefit period. TANF extensions can prevent struggling families from reverting to financial distress following the ending of benefits. The extension of TANF benefits promotes the purposes of the TANF program and gives families the assurance that their benefits will not be terminated if a qualifying extenuating circumstance exists. Since residents requiring further cash assistance often have difficulties attaining or retaining employment, TANF benefit extensions give residents and their families the opportunity to receive additional benefits. The VDSS recognizes that the TANF benefits limit for participants in the program cannot always combat financial hardship, so extensions are granted based on need. Since a TANF benefit extension must be paid by state-only funds, current beneficiaries and residents applying for TANF remain unaffected.

How can I extend TANF benefits in Virginia?

TANF benefit extensions in Virginia are available to residents who meet the qualifications for additional time in the program. Program participants must apply for a TANF benefits extension, as they are not automatic. To get a TANF extension in VA, applicants must demonstrate need and fully explain their situations (i.e., the reason they require additional benefits). For more information on eligibility for TANF benefits, download our comprehensive guide here.

What are the Virginia TANF extension requirements I need to meet?

TANF extension requirements are thorough and contain national and state eligibility restrictions. Extended TANF beneficiaries must also continue to comply with the requirements of the TANF program. Enrollees must not have committed any intentional violations or have failed to complete work requirements. Successful applicants for TANF extensions also include residents who have not been sanctioned more than once during a two-year period.

Families may be eligible for TANF benefit extensions if they are victims of domestic violence or facing significant hardship as defined by the VDSS. There are also TANF restrictions for the hardship exception for extensions. For instance, TANF extension benefits will be awarded to residents experiencing extremely invasive problems that are expected to last for the duration of the extension period.

Since extended TANF benefits cover residents who are no longer eligible for TANF, federal TANF restricts the total number of beneficiaries allowed to received benefits through extensions. The total number of beneficiaries allowed may vary depending on the average number of TANF beneficiaries in the state the previous year. To learn more about TANF benefit extensions, download our full guide here.

How to Apply for a TANF Benefit Extension in Virginia

To apply for a TANF benefits extension, residents may contact their local social services offices or their caseworkers. Extending TANF benefits also involves performing approved job-related activities and providing evidence of the hardship for which an extension would be granted. Residents must find the VDSS office that services their areas and submit to another eligibility assessment. At least one adult in an applying family must have reached their TANF benefit limit prior to applying for an extension.

To save time during the Virginia TANF extension application process and to ensure families attain all available TANF benefits, petitioners should determine if any periods in which they received benefits may not count toward the total benefit limit. In other words, residents may not need to get a TANF extension if they have not reached their benefit limit. Residents who believe they should apply for TANF extensions should first check to be sure they are prohibited from receiving more TANF benefits.

How long can I extend TANF benefits in Virginia?

While the purpose of TANF benefit extensions is to lengthen the lifetime TANF limit, there is a limit on extended benefits that may affect residents’ abilities to receive further benefits. Once residents reach this limit, they may no longer receive any benefits from the VA TANF program.

Virginia Department of Social Services