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Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a time-limited federal program designed to provide temporary cash payments to families with minor children who have little or no income. WorkFirst New Jersey (WFNJ) is the state program that helps such families but it is administered through the state's County Welfare Agencies.

Under TANF, a family may receive assistance for a lifetime total of sixty months. These months do not have to be consecutive and may be accumulated over many years. Also, assistance received in any other state counts toward the lifetime limit. The following groups may be eligible for TANF assistance:

  • single mothers
  • single fathers
  • grandparents who have custody of children
  • persons with disabilities
  • anyone that can provide documentation that they have custody of a child and that they are taking care of that child in their household

Most families who are eligible for TANF assistance also receive NJ SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) and Medicaid benefits. In order to receive the cash portion of TANF benefits, you cannot collect any other source of income (e.g., Unemployment Insurance, Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, child support).

Training programs

TANF beneficiaries are required to particiapte in job search and training programs.

WFNJ employment-directed activities

WFNJ employment-directed activities provide employment education and training services for people who receive TANF and General Assistance (GA). Services include employment counseling, assessment, job search assistance, work experience, on-the-job training, vocational education, basic education skill development, computer literacy training, and other services to help WFNJ recipients find and keep a job.

Supplemental Workforce Development Benefits Program (SmartSTEPS)

The Supplemental Workforce Development Benefits Program (SmartSTEPS) provides replacement WFNJ cash assistance and support services benefits for individuals pursing a two- or four-year degree from an accredited college or university. WFNJ recipients can participate fully in their college education without worrying about the time limit and work requirements of the WFNJ program.

Contact Your One-Stop Career Center

Career Advancement Voucher Program

If you are employed and no longer receiving TANF or General Assistance benefits, the Career Advancement Voucher Program (CAVP) can help pay for classes or training for your current or a new job with training or education vouchers.

Contact or visit your County Welfare Agency to find out if you qualify and how to apply.

How to register

Visit your County Welfare Agency to register for TANF assistance.