The Texas TANF benefits program has time limits established for adults and children. Adults can only receive up to 60 months of TANF benefits. Children can sometimes receive 60 months as children and then another 60 months as adults. After a beneficiary, has reached the federal time limit of 60 months, benefits will stop for the entire household. There are federal and state time limits for TANF benefits in Texas. In some cases, months will count towards the federal time limit and not the state time limit. Months only count when cash was received by the petitioner. Texas state time limits are 12, 24 or 36 months which will be determined on a case by case basis.

Texas TANF program extension can start the first day of the month after closure, when the beneficiary has submitted an application and has contacted the HHSC department about extending benefits prior to the closure. To learn more about TANF time limit extensions and exemptions read the sections provided:

  • Texas TANF Hardship Exemptions
  • Texas TANF Time Limits
  • Exceptions to TANF Time Limits

Texas TANF Hardship Exemptions

Texas TANF program extension can be applied for during the 60th month of benefits or after when a petitioner has a hardship exemption. Applicants must meet TANF benefits eligibility criteria and not have child support or Choices penalties over 12 months. Applicants will submit a new application, sign a new Personal Responsibility Agreement and participate in a Workforce Orientation refresher course. The TANF program extension follows the same guidelines as the regular TANF program.

Hardship exemptions have several categories; personal disability, family violence, lack of employment and caring for family with a disability. Personal disabilities that qualify for a TANF time limit extension include physical or mental disabilities that will last more than 180 days. Lack of employment can be considered for a TANF program extension when the beneficiary has complied with the Choices stipulations and during the previous 12 months has been unable to obtain employment. A TANF benefits petitioner can receive an extension of benefits when providing over 180 days of care for a relative with a disability. The lack of employment hardship can extend TANF benefits for up to 24 additional months.

Texas TANF benefits petitioners who are seeking a TANF program extension will need to provide verification documents for the hardship exemption. For personal disability verification, a petitioner must furnish a medical release statement or be certified for SSI benefits. A medical release statement can also be used for verification on taking care of a family member with a disability. In family violence cases the petitioner is required to meet with a family violence specialist who will make recommendations on the case and the petitioner will then become eligible for a hardship exemption.

Texas TANF Time Limits

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families received in other states will count towards TANF time limits in Texas. Case managers will verify TANF benefits received in other states before determining the time limits left on claims. If a beneficiary received benefits in Oregon, there are certain time frames that will not be counted towards the total time limit of benefits.

Texas TANF benefits time limits begin the first day of the month where an applicant has met all eligibility requirements. This would mean that all TANF petitioners must have submitted all verification documents and attended a TANF benefits interview. In cases where eligibility has not been determined by the 45th day from the initial request date. When the applicant is an unborn child, the benefit start date cannot be a date prior to the month before the child’s due date. Texas TANF benefit start dates for beneficiaries participating in the Pre-TANF program commence the day Pre-TANF ends.

Exceptions to TANF Time Limits

There are cases in which employment guidelines will not have to be met and those months of TANF benefits will not count towards the accrued time limit. The reasons for a TANF time limit extension would include if a petitioner has a learning disability, is a victims of domestic violence, suffers from a mental illness or has been deprived of medical care. A beneficiary with a disability, caring for a child with a disability or providing care for a relative in the home with a disability are other factors that will extend TANF time limits. Petitioners will also receive a TANF program extension when he or she has suffered extreme cruelty or battery. This would include sexual abuse, physical injury and mental abuse. Texas has a five-year freeze out period in which only a hardship exemption will constitute benefit eligibility.