TANF For Single Mothers In Illinois

Last Updated on January 15, 2024 by Lori Pace

Are you a single mother in Illinois facing economic hardship and needing financial assistance? The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in Illinois may be able to provide you with the vital support you need.

TANF is a cash assistance program designed to help single parents, pregnant women, and needy families with children cover essential expenses such as food, shelter, and utilities. This article will provide an objective and informative overview of the TANF program in Illinois, including eligibility requirements, benefits, and the application process.

TANF offers a lifeline to single mothers in Illinois by providing monthly cash benefits to help alleviate financial strain. By participating in this program, you can receive assistance for up to 60 months, enabling you to stabilize your financial situation and provide for your children’s needs.

It’s important to note that as a single mother, you must work at least 20 hours per week to qualify for TANF benefits. However, with this program’s support, you can take steps towards financial independence and create a better future for yourself and your children.

How Can TANF Benefit Single Mothers in Illinois?

As a single mother in Illinois, you can benefit from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which offers various resources to assist you in meeting your child’s needs under age 19.

Here are five key ways TANF can benefit you:

  • Financial Assistance: TANF provides cash assistance to eligible single mothers to help cover essential expenses such as food, shelter, utilities, and other basic needs. Your monthly benefits will depend on your household income and size, with the average payment being around $576 for a family of three.
  • Child Care Assistance: TANF offers child care assistance to single mothers seeking employment or participating in work activities. This support enables you to access affordable and reliable childcare services, ensuring that your child is well-cared for while you work towards financial stability.
How Can Tanf Benefit Single Mothers In Illinois
  • Medical Assistance: TANF recipients are eligible for medical assistance through the Illinois Medicaid program. You and your child can receive necessary healthcare services, including doctor visits, prescriptions, and hospital care, without worrying about the financial burden.
  • Payment Level: TANF benefits in Illinois are based on a sliding scale, taking into account your family’s income and size. The payment level increases with the number of eligible family members, providing additional support for single mothers with multiple children.
  • Full-time Student Support: If you’re a single mother and a full-time student, TANF can provide financial assistance to help cover your educational expenses. This support ensures you can continue your studies while meeting your child’s needs.

Overall, TANF offers vital assistance to single mothers in Illinois, providing financial support, child care assistance, medical coverage, and educational support. By participating in TANF, you can access these resources to help you provide a stable and nurturing environment for your child while working towards achieving your goals. 

What Are the Eligibility Requirements of TANF in Illinois?

To qualify for TANF in Illinois, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal alien and have dependent children under the age of 19 living with you. Pregnant women are also qualified to apply for the program. Additionally, you must be currently under-employed, unemployed, or about to become unemployed.

TANF specifically targets very low-income families, and the income limits are based on family size. For example, a family of three must have a monthly income below $576 to be eligible.

Use the table below as a reference for the household income limits.

Family SizeMaximum Income Limit
What Are The Eligibility Requirements Of Tanf In Illinois

It’s important to note that TANF in Illinois focuses on personal responsibility, so single mothers who apply may be required to participate in work activities or register for work, depending on their child’s age. The program aims to provide temporary financial aid while parents work towards stability.

Along with cash grants, TANF may provide access to family care, medical and SNAP benefits, and child support enforcement.

To apply for TANF, you can visit a local DHS office or apply online through Illinois ABE

How Much Cash Assistance Will Single Mothers Receive Through the TANF Program?

The amount of cash assistance received through TANF will vary depending on several factors, including the number of children in the household and the parent’s income.

The monthly payment amount ranges from $243 to $623 for a family of six people, with an average monthly payment of about $576.

It’s important to note that TANF is designed to be a temporary cash assistance program, providing financial aid while parents work towards stability.

Single mothers may also be eligible for additional financial support through child support payments, emergency government grants, and other public assistance programs. 

What Are the Limitations of the TANF Program?

The TANF program in Illinois has certain eligibility requirements that single parents must meet to receive assistance. Additionally, there is a time limit on how long families can receive TANF benefits, known as the 60-month TANF clock. However, there are some exceptions to this time limit, such as for families facing emergencies or those who need additional funds to meet their basic needs.

Another limitation is the work requirement. To receive cash assistance, you must participate in employment or work-related activities. While this requirement encourages self-sufficiency, it may also pose challenges for single mothers with limited time and resources.

It’s important to note that the TANF program is administered at the county level, so the specific limitations and resources available may vary depending on the county you reside in, such as Cook County or DuPage County.

Overall, TANF aims to provide a strong work incentive package, encouraging single parents to make positive decisions for themselves and their families. 

Helpful Tips for TANF Application

When applying for TANF in Illinois as a single mother, it’s important to gather all necessary documents beforehand. This includes proof of income, assets, identification, and legal citizenship. Make sure to have documentation that verifies your eligibility, such as proof of pregnancy or a birth certificate for your child.

Additionally, be prepared to provide information about your household’s income and expenses, including child care and educational expenses.

It’s also beneficial to familiarize yourself with the income guidelines and eligibility requirements for TANF in Illinois.

By being organized and well-prepared, you can increase your chances of a successful application and expedite the process of receiving much-needed financial assistance. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any additional benefits or services that single mothers in Illinois may be eligible for while receiving TANF?

While receiving TANF in Illinois, single mothers may be eligible for additional benefits and services. These include healthcare coverage, SNAP food stamps, free daycare, and other public assistance programs. Eligibility for these programs may vary based on income and other factors.

Can single mothers use TANF benefits to pay for childcare expenses?

Yes, single mothers in Illinois can use TANF benefits to pay for childcare expenses. TANF provides financial assistance for various needs, including childcare. This can help single mothers access affordable childcare while they work or participate in work activities.

What types of work activities are considered eligible for meeting the work requirements of TANF for single mothers?

To meet the work requirements of TANF for single mothers, eligible work activities may include job search, education or training programs, work experience, community service, or participation in a job readiness program.

Can single mothers apply for TANF if they are currently employed but struggling to make ends meet?

Yes, single mothers in Illinois who are currently employed but struggling to make ends meet can apply for TANF. TANF provides temporary financial assistance to eligible families, including those under-employed.


In conclusion, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program can significantly benefit single mothers in Illinois. By offering cash assistance, job training, and other support services, TANF aims to help single mothers achieve self-sufficiency and improve the well-being of their families.

To qualify for TANF in Illinois, single mothers must meet certain eligibility requirements, such as having a low income and being responsible for caring for a child. The amount of cash assistance they receive depends on household size and income. However, it’s important to note that TANF has limitations, such as time limits on receiving benefits and work requirements.

When applying for TANF, single mothers should remember a few helpful tips. They should gather all necessary documents, such as proof of income and identification, and be prepared to provide detailed information about their household. It’s also advisable to seek assistance from local organizations or social service agencies that can help navigate the application process.

Overall, TANF can be a valuable resource for single mothers in Illinois, providing them with the support they need to overcome financial challenges and build a better future for themselves and their children

Lori Pace
Lori Pace

Lori Pace is a single mother of three daughters ages 7 and under. As a working mom from home, she balances kids, work and two crazy dogs with humor and love. Follow Lori as she honestly gives tips and advice based on her own experiences as a single mom!