TANF For Single Mothers In Pennsylvania

Last Updated on January 31, 2024 by Lori Pace

If you are a resident of Pennsylvania and facing financial hardship, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program can provide you with the assistance you need.

TANF is a federal program that provides cash assistance to low-income families with children, intending to help them achieve self-sufficiency.

Pennsylvania TANF offers a range of benefits that can help you meet your family’s basic needs, such as food, shelter, and clothing. The amount of cash assistance you receive depends on your family size and income, and you must engage in work activities and comply with child support requirements to continue receiving benefits.

In this article, we will explore the eligibility requirements and application process for PA TANF, as well as the mandatory work requirements and Agreement of Mutual Responsibility that recipients must adhere to. 

Benefits Offered by TANF Pennsylvania

The county assistance office offers various services, including a training program, cash assistance benefits, and medical assistance. In addition, child support requirements must be met to receive cash assistance, but educational assistance is also available.

The cash assistance grant can provide much-needed financial assistance to those who qualify. Still, it’s important to note that receipt of cash assistance is temporary and requires participation in work-related activities.

Overall, Pennsylvania TANF offers a range of benefits to those needing financial aid. 

Benefits Offered By Tanf Pennsylvania

PA TANF Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for Pennsylvania TANF, applicants must meet specific eligibility requirements, including income and household size.

You must be a US citizen or lawful permanent resident or have a qualified alien status. Applicants must also have permanent residency in the State of Pennsylvania.

To be eligible, needy families must have a dependent child under age 19 or be pregnant. Single-parent families and custodial parents are also qualified to avail of the benefits.

The household income must also meet the income limit guidelines.

Family SizeIncome Limit
Pa Tanf Eligibility Requirements

Pennsylvania TANF Application Guidelines

Applying for temporary financial assistance involves completing an online application through COMPASS, the online portal for Pennsylvania’s cash assistance program. Alternatively, you can also apply in person at your local County Assistance Office.

Once approved, cash assistance benefits are deposited onto a ‘Pennsylvania Access Card’ using Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT). However, receipt of cash assistance is limited to 60 months in a lifetime. Extended TANF is available for specific situations. 

Pennsylvania Mandatory Work Requirements
You must fulfill mandatory work requirements to receive cash aid under the PA TANF program, so stay on top of your employment goals.

Here are four things you need to know about these requirements:

1) Acceptable work activities include unsubsidized employment, subsidized employment, on-the-job training, job search and job readiness assistance, and community service.

2) You must participate in at least 30 hours of mandatory work activities per week, or 20 hours if you have a child under six years old.

3) You must report any changes in your income for employment or training activity count to your caseworker, as this may affect your payment for childcare expenses.

4) You are subject to a five-year time limit for receipt of cash assistance, so it’s important to make the most of your opportunities for employment and training.

Remember that meeting these requirements can lead to greater self-sufficiency and a brighter future for you and your family. 

Agreement of Mutual Responsibility (AMR)

As a participant in the cash assistance program, it’s important to understand the Agreement of Mutual Responsibility and what it means for your responsibilities and obligations.

The Agreement of Mutual Responsibility is a contract between you and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services that outlines the expectations and requirements for receiving cash assistance. The agreement requires you to participate in acceptable work activities, including employment, education, job training, or community service, to receive financial assistance.

You must also meet your employment goals and take advantage of any educational assistance that is available to you. Additionally, you must report any changes in your circumstances, such as income or employment status, to your caseworker.

In return, the department agrees to provide you with cash assistance and payment for childcare expenses if you have a dependent child and need childcare to participate in mandatory work activities.

It’s important to read and understand the agreement before signing your application form to ensure that you are aware of your obligations and responsibilities while receiving cash assistance. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Pennsylvania TANF program help recipients become self-sufficient in the long term?

To become self-sufficient in the long term, TANF PA recipients must engage in work activities, participate in drug and alcohol testing, comply with child support requirements, and report changes to the local county office. They can also receive job training and education to improve employment prospects.

Can TANF benefits be used to pay for childcare expenses?

Yes, TANF benefits can be used to pay for childcare expenses. The program provides eligible families with financial assistance for child care services, allowing parents to work or attend school while their children are supervised in a safe environment.

How does a TANF recipient report changes in their income or household circumstances?

To report changes in your income or household circumstances as a TANF recipient, contact your caseworker immediately. They will provide you with the necessary forms to complete and submit and will review your eligibility for continued benefits based on the changes.

Are there any exceptions to the mandatory work requirements for TANF recipients in Pennsylvania?

You may be exempt from mandatory work requirements for TANF if you are pregnant, have a disability, are caring for a disabled family member, or have a child under age one. Other exemptions may apply based on individual circumstances.

What happens if a TANF recipient fails to fulfill their Agreement of Mutual Responsibility?

If you fail to fulfill your agreement of mutual responsibility as a TANF recipient, you may face consequences such as reduction or termination of benefits. It is important to communicate any issues with your caseworker to avoid these penalties. 


With this knowledge, you can determine if you qualify for assistance and take the necessary steps to apply. Remember, TANF is designed to provide temporary financial assistance to needy families. While it may not be a long-term solution, it can help single mothers and families get back on their feet and improve their overall quality of life.

If you have any questions or concerns about Pennsylvania TANF, be sure to reach out to your local Department of Human Services or visit their website for more information. By taking advantage of the resources available, you can ensure that you are receiving the support you need to provide for yourself and your family.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about PA TANF, and best of luck in your journey toward financial stability.

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!