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TANF and TAONF are the time-limited welfare reform programs for adults with children. These programs are designed to protect those who cannot work and to require those who are able to work to do so. Unlike the old welfare program, which fostered dependence and low self-esteem, the TANF and TAONF programs require work and promote self-reliance, responsibility, and family stability. Both TANF and TAONF offer a package of strong incentives and penalties, child care support for working parents, and restructured welfare benefits so that it “pays to work.”  Households which include an adult who is not exempt, are allowed to receive TANF or TAONF cash benefits for a maximum of five years in their lifetime.

In December 2001, eligibility expired for 539 families who were the first to reach the five-year time limit. In fiscal year 2012, 367 cases were closed due to time-limits.  The Department continues to expand its outreach activities to ensure that families who are approaching the five-year limit are prepared and have a self-sufficiency plan. Job preparation services, job search skills, training and education are available. We have also expanded our supportive services for those with barriers to employment. Our intent is to assist families towards self-sufficiency as expeditiously as possible.

TANF and TAONF provide monthly cash benefits to families for food, clothing, shelter, and other essentials. To qualify for this assistance, a family must include children under the age of 19 and earn a total gross income under 185% of the 2006 Federal Poverty Level (FPL). For a household of three persons, this means the monthly gross income must be less than $2,941 and the net income must be under $610, if the household includes an employable adult. For households where all adults are disabled, care is required for a disabled household member, or there is a child younger than six months of age, the net income must be under $763 per month.  Effective April 18, 2013, assets are disregarded under the TANF/TAONF program.

Family participation in TANF or TAONF depends on the household composition. Where all members are U. S. citizens the family is eligible for federally-funded welfare under TANF. Families that include at least one non-citizen are eligible for state-funded welfare under TAONF. Other than the funding sources, the TANF/TAONF programs are identical.

In October 2008, the Department implemented a new eligibility requirement where applicants are referred to our work program and expected to fulfill a compliance period prior to approval of benefits.  The purpose is to meet the work participation rates and other program requirements mandated by the federal government.

Contact the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii for Assistance Applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Legal Aid Society of Hawai‘i
924 Bethel Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Neighbor Islands