TANF: What Happens When I Go to Work?

Authored By: Georgia Legal Services Program® LSC Funded


TANF: What Happens When I Go To Work?

Nancy Lindbloom
Georgia Legal Services Program
Last Revised: August 2002

Q: What are support services and who can get them?
Support services are available to families applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), families who receive TANF, and families leaving TANF. The Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) worker and you are supposed to sit down together to determine which support services will help you get a job or keep a job.

Types of support services you can receive include, but are not limited to:

Child Care: This service is available for TANF parents applying for TANF who are participating in work requirements and parents applying for TANF who must do job search. Your Personal Work Plan (PWP) has a space on the bottom where your DFCS worker is supposed to write in what child services DFCS will cover. There is a special Transitional Child Care (TCC) program for TANF families who are leaving the program to go to work. Child care is available for up to one year under on under TCC, on a sliding scale fee basis. It is important that you notify your DFCS worker before you start work, so that arrangements for child care will already have been made.

Medicaid: This service is usually available to recipients through Low Income Medicaid (LIM). If you become ineligible for TANF for employment reasons you should be able to maintain eligibility for transitional Medicaid for you and your children for a 12 month period. You'll be asked to report your wages and other information to DFCS.

Transportation: Transportation refers to services that enable a TANF parent to get to and from work activities specified in the PWP and for people applying for TANF who must do a job search. It includes the cost of operating a vehicle, bus tickets, other transportation fares, parking fees, and getting a recipient's child to child care.

NOTE: Usually you are reimbursed $3.00 per day. If higher routine costs can be documented for the area in which the client is participating, and the DFCS County Director or his/her designee approves, a higher daily rate may be paid. The limitation on this expenditure is $350.00 per participant per month.

Other Important Services/Incidentals

* Vehicle repairs and related items, i.e., tires, tune-up, batteries, etc. The limitation on this expenditure is $500.00 per recipient.
* Vehicle insurance. The limitation is $300.00 per year.
* Vehicle operation expense, i.e. driver's license, needed to secure transportation to and from training or employment. The limitation on this expenditure is $35.00.
* Medical services needed for employment which are not available through other sources.
* Eye wear not available through other sources up to $150.00 per recipient.
* Dental services needed for employment. The limit on this expenditure is $500.00.
* Clothes needed to participate in the assigned work activity.
* Tools and supplies required to accept employment or participate in training when they are not available through your employer.
* Occupational licensing fees up to $300.00.
* Tuition for shorter certificate training for which financial aid is not available.
* Testing fees required to determine appropriate activity for recipient and to obtain a GED.

Failure to receive these services would prevent the recipient from engaging in the required work activities, however, if there is another source available that would adequately serve the recipients needs then this service will not be provided. The need to purchase these services must be documented and pre-approved by the DFCS case manager.

Q: What is the TANF to Work Support Payment (TWSP) and how do I qualify?
The TWSP is an allowance for transportation and other expenses that are needed to accept a job or keep a job. The payment is a lump sum in the last month of TANF eligibility and is only provided once every 12 months. Individuals who have become ineligible for TANF due to employment should receive a TANF to Work Support Payment (TWSP). In addition to obtaining employment, a recipient must meet the following criteria before TWSP is available:
* employment is the reason for TANF ineligibility
* the participant is not receiving services from other sources
* the support is need to accept or maintain employment
* expenditures are pre-approved by DFCS

The TWSP includes a transportation allowance of $195.00 and incidentals may be approved up to the maximum limit regardless of previous expenditures.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you tell your DFCS worker right away that you got a job. If you do not notify them within 30 working days of receiving your first paycheck, you will not be able to get the TWSP.

Q: What services are available after I have lost my TANF benefits for reasons other than employment?
Support services of transportation and incidentals may be provided up to 90 days from the date the recipient loses eligibility for TANF or until completion of the activity in which the recipient was involved at the time of the loss of TANF eligibility, whichever comes first if:
1) the loss of eligibility is not due to a sanction, and
2) the loss of eligibility occurs after funds have been expended or obligated for an activity for that recipient.

Q: I asked for support services, but DFCS would not provide then. What can I do?
You have the right to request a hearing. You must request it within 30 days. Georgia Legal Services may be able to help you with the hearing. Contact your local office.

EXAMPLE: Mary Smith has been receiving TANF for a year, and has gotten a full-time job offer from Shop-mart Distribution Center, which is located 20 miles from her home. She doesn't know how she will get there, or who will take care of her children. She does have an old care with 4 bald tires and no battery.

Ms. Smith should ask for a meeting with her DFCS worker right away. She can request that DFCS approve the purchase of 4 new tires and a battery to get the car up and running, and the $195.00 TWSP transportation allowance will help her with gas and maintenance. The DFCS worker should also arrange for transitional child care for her children.

If that does not happen, then Ms. Smith should request a hearing and contact Georgia Legal Services.

All of the information in this pamphlet comes from State DFCS Employment Services Manual, Section V- Support Services.

Nancy Lindbloom
Georgia Legal Services Program
Last Revised: August 2002

Last Review and Update: Aug 29, 2002