Last updated: February 16, 2013 by

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) which replaces the traditional “welfare” program1 is a federally funded grant program that allows states to create and administer their own assistance programs to help needy families with a combination of financial assistance and work opportunities.

Each state has its own local TANF office. However, the name of TANF program varies state to state2 like California’s CALWORKS or Family Independence Program (FIP) in Michigan.

But still the main goal of TNAF program is to help move the recipients into employment and turn welfare into a program of temporary assistance3 and ultimately, achieve permanent self-sufficiency.


  1. Also known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) which was in effect from from 1935 to 1996 when it was replaced by the more restrictive TANF program. []
  2. Source: Office of Family Assistance []
  3. In most cases, you may only receive TANF benefits for a maximum of 5 years (or 60 months). []