Temporary Assistance to 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. In New Jersey, Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) is the state program created to help such families. This program is state supervised, but administered through the county.
Under TANF/WFNJ 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, any assistance received in any other state counts toward the lifetime limit. Disabled persons and those over 60 years of age are not included in this limit nor are children under age 18.
Eligibility for this program is contingent upon having minor children in the home. The youngest child must be under 18 years of age or over 18 if a full time high school student expected to graduate before the 19th birthday. Single and two parent families may be eligible. All applicants and recipients, as a condition of eligibility must cooperate in establishing paternity and/or in seeking child support for their children. Persons who refuse to cooperate without good cause will be ineligible to receive TANF.
In some cases, eligibility may exist when neither parent is in the home and the child(ren) is being cared for by a blood related relative who may choose whether or not to receive assistance along with the child. Persons who have legal guardianship of an unrelated child may also apply for assistance.