Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) Program

Virginia’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program — formerly AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children AFDC) — is a federal/state public assistance program authorized by the Code of Virginia and Title IV-A of the Social Security Act. TANF is funded through a federal block grant and through state funds authorized by the Virginia General Assembly.

Apply for TANF online.

The purpose of TANF is to provide temporary cash assistance to families in need and to end the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation and work. With few exceptions, assistance under TANF is restricted to a lifetime limit of 60 cumulative months.

A child may be eligible if he or she:

  • is a resident of Virginia
  • is under age 18, or is 18 and will graduate from high school before age 19
  • lives with one or both parents or a close relative
  • is a U.S. citizen or an eligible alien.*

*Eligible alien refers to immigrants eligible for public benefits under the 1996 federal welfare reform legislation, including: permanent residents, asylees, refugees, parolees, deportees and veterans. (Some exceptions apply based on the date the alien status was assigned and date of entry to the U.S.)

As a general rule, families with children who are eligible for TANF may also receive Medicaid. Able-to-work parents receiving TANF, unless otherwise exempted, are required to participate in the Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare (VIEW) program — the employment program for TANF recipients — and work for as long as the family receives TANF benefits.

People required to participate in VIEW can receive TANF only for a 24-month period. They may be eligible for TANF benefits again after not having received this assistance for a period of 24 to 36 months.

TANF Grants

The following are maximum monthly TANF payment or "grant" amounts according to family size. If the family receives wages or other income (for example, social security or pensions), the TANF grant may be lower.

In the chart below, family size refers to the number of TANF-eligible family members: a family of one is the child or parent/relative only; a family of two is a parent/relative and one child; a family of three is a parent/relative and two children, etc.


Family Size







7 or over

TANF Grant







Same amount as for family of 6

Anyone receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) through Social Security is not eligible to receive TANF; however, even if a child or a parent/relative receives SSI, other family members could be eligible.  

This information is to be used as a guideline only
and is not intended to replace TANF program policy.

To learn more about Fairfax County's TANF program call:

703-324-3000; TTY 703-222-9452

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Fairfax County Department of Family Services
[ 12011 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035 ]
[ 703-324-7500 ]

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