Tis series of fact sheets produced together by:
American Civil Liberties Union | Center for American Progress | Family Equality Council | Freedom to Marry | Gay & Lesbian Advocates & DefendersHuman Rights Campaign | Immigration Equality | Lambda Legal | National Center for Lesbian Rights | National Gay and Lesbian Task Force | OutServe-SLDN.
TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE FORNEEDY FAMILIES (TANF)
What is TANF?
emporary Assistance or Needy Families (ANF) is a ederally-unded program run by states that provides limited cash assistance to extremely low-income parents and theirchildren. States may have dierent names or this program, but it can be called publicassistance, temporary assistance, general assistance or cash assistance. Tis program isextremely limited and provides small amounts o assistance to parents who have little orno income and very ew assets or limited periods o time. It also provides some assistancedirectly or their children. Since the passage o Welare Reorm in the mid-90s, there aresevere restrictions on the program, which vary state by state, and many extremely low-income parents do not qualiy.Tere is a requirement that adult recipients o ANF generally must work or participatein a welare-to-work program, although the requirements vary widely rom state to state.In many states, being eligible or ANF may also make you eligible or ree child care,although child care may not actually be available.
Who qualifes or TANF?
ANF is run and designed by states, so each state has dierent rules or who qualiesand what aid is available. Generally, ANF may be available to pregnant women, legally-recognized parents and their children, and in some circumstances, stepparents or legally-recognized relatives caring or children. Tis means that in states where same-sex parents arenot recognized under the law, non-biological parents may not be able to qualiy or ANF.However, there are other assistance programs or relatives and non-relative caregivers whoare caring or a child (but only i there is no legal parent raising the child). Some o theseother programs may actually provide better aid than ANF.
Who will be recognized as married or TANF purposes?
Tere are ederal rules that restrict how states run this program.
Now that Section 3 o the ederal Deenseo Marriage Act (DOMA) has been overturned, every state that recognizes marriagesbetween same-sex couples will recognize their marriages or all ANF purposes.
You may be treated as married or ANF purposes.
You will probably notbe recognized as married or ANF purposes.
The Supreme Court victory in
United States v. Windsor
striking down the discriminatory ederal Deense o Marriage Act (DOMA) afrms that allloving and committed couples who are married deserve equal legal respect and treatment rom the ederal government. The demise o DOMAmarks a turning point in how the United States government treats the relationships o married same-sex couples or ederal programs that are linkedto being married. At the same time, a turning point is part o a longer journey, not the end o the road. There is much work ahead beore same-sexcouples living across the nation can enjoy all the same protections as their dierent-sex counterparts.
Te Supreme Court’s ruling in
applies only to the ederalgovernment. It does not change discriminatory state laws excluding same-sex couples rom state-conerred marriage rights.
Te ruling striking down DOMA will not be eective until 25 daysrom the decision. Even when eective, ederal agencies—largebureaucracies—may need and take some time to change orms,implement procedures, train personnel, and efciently incorporatesame-sex couples into the spousal-based system.
Until same-sex couples can marry in every state in the nation, there will be uncertainty about the extent to which same-sex spouses willreceive ederal marital-based protections nationwide. For ederalprograms that assess marital status based on the law o a state thatdoes not respect marriages o same-sex couples, those state laws will likely pose obstacles or legally married couples and surviving spouses in accessing ederal protections and responsibilities.
Securing air access to ederal protections that come with marriageor all same-sex couples in the nation will take some time and work.In some situations, it may require Congressional action or ormalrule-making by agencies.
Beore making a decision, it is essential that you consult an attorney or individualized legal advice. Tis is particularly important orpeople who are on certain public benets, as getting married may jeopardize your eligibility without providing you the ull measureo protections other married couples enjoy. In addition, couples who travel to another place to marry and then return to live in a state that does not respect their marriage may be unairly unableto obtain a divorce, which can lead to serious negative legal andnancial consequences. People must make careul decisions whenand where to marry, even as we work together to end this injustice.
We are committed to winning universal access to ederal maritalprotections or married same-sex couples through ongoing publicpolicy advocacy, and, where necessary, strategic litigation. Contactour organizations i you have questions, or updates and to learnmore about what you can do to achieve ull equality or those whoare LGB.Tis Guidance is intended to provide general inormation regarding major areas o ederal marriage-based rights and protections based onhow the various ederal agencies have administered ederal benets.
It should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specifc acts or circumstances, and does not create an attorney-client relationship
. Past practice is no guarantee o uture developments. While laws and legal procedure are subject to requent change anddiering interpretations in the ordinary course, this is even more truenow as the ederal government dismantles DOMA and extends ederalprotections to same-sex couples. None o the organizations publishing this inormation can ensure the inormation is current or be responsibleor any use to which it is put.No tax advice is intended, and nothing therein should be used, andcannot be used, or the purpose o avoiding penalties under the InternalRevenue Code.Contact a qualied attorney in your state or legal advice about yourparticular situation.