Temporary Assistance

Temporary Assistance is a cash assistance program available to support those who are living below the poverty level based upon income and resources. Assistance can be issued on an on-going basis or to meet an emergency need for housing or heat/utilities. 

The two primary Temporary Assistance programs are Family Assistance and Safety Net Assistance. These programs provide the same level of assistance to a household, but serve different populations and have some different rules. 

  • Family Assistance – Family Assistance provides cash assistance to eligible needy families that include a minor child living with a parent (or both parents) or a caretaker relative. The program is governed by federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) guidelines, which limit an individual’s eligibility for Family Assistance to five years. After that time, if the family otherwise remains eligible, assistance may be received through the Safety Net Assistance program. 
  • Safety Net Assistance – Safety Net Assistance provides assistance to eligible needy individuals without children and other households not eligible for Family Assistance. Households that reach the five-year time limit for Family Assistance are automatically moved into the Safety Net Assistance program if they remain otherwise eligible for benefits. These households are required to have their shelter and utility allowances paid directly to their landlord and utility provider.