A few weeks ago, the Toledo Blade wrote a story ongrandparents and aunts and uncles who are providing kinship care for children in their family when the children’s parents can’t. It covered the kinship program in Ohio that we mentioned awhile back, but this was the money quote:
“According to (the Annie Casey Foundation’s), fewer than 12 percent of kinship families receive assistance from Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, the formal name for welfare, though almost all children in such families are eligible for this aid.”
Yes, people, nobody wants to depend on “welfare,” even if they are poor, but the truth is, if you need it, you need it. The “free money” scammers rose to prominence as worker’s wages lost their buying power, but distaste for “welfare mooches” grew. So the scam artists told everybody that there was “free money” out there in the form of “grants” that they are entitled to. In truth, most federal money is available to individuals NOT as grants, but as…social welfare programs. Like TANF (temporary assistance to needy families).
As the name implies, it’s not for a lifetime—you are only eligible for 60 months (5 years) total for your lifetime. But if you are trying to feed some kids, you may need it right now, and it might keep you afloat till a decent job comes along. It’s not about you, it’s about making sure kids get what they need.
How do you find it? It has different names, depending on the state where you’re accessing it. The details for eligibility vary from state to state, but there are some federal guidelines on eligibility. Some are cutting TANF big-time, like my native state, Michigan, which manages to do this (and cut the earned income credit for the working poor) while giving tax cuts to the wealthy. Stay classy, Michigan!
Here’s a link that can tell you what the current name is for whatever they used to call the Welfare Department in your state, and where you can get current state information on TANF.