TANF Benefits Extensions in Arizona

Obtaining a cash assistance benefit extension in Arizona is difficult, to say the least, but not impossible. While, statistically speaking, Arizona has one of the strictest TANF limits, those who want to get a TANF extension can – if they meet additional criteria. Understanding TANF extension requirements can go a long way if you would like to extend TANF benefits, as you will be more familiar with the extension process and what you can do if you are denied. To learn more about an Arizona cash assistance extension, including the requirements for an extension, the process and your right to an appeal, review the sections below.

Arizona Cash Assistance Extension Information

In Arizona, cash assistance benefits extension eligibility and requirements changed as of June 30, 2016. This extended the TANF assistance that most households could receive to 12 months over a citizen’s lifetime. Arizona TANF benefits could be received consecutively or throughout a lifetime, but this change sharply reduced the amount of citizens successfully learning how to apply for TANF and receiving cash assistance in Arizona. This 12-month limit is known as the CA State Benefit Limit, or STBL.

This makes the Arizona cash assistance extension one of the strictest in the country, far below the federal limit of 60 months, or five years. Under the STBL, a household is not eligible to receive more than a 12-month extension of cash assistance when all of the following are true:

  • The PI, the PI’s spouse or another adult within the household has already received 12 or more countable months of cash assistance

  • The PI, spouse, another adult or the dependent child in the budgetary unit, or household, are keyed IN, DI, DF, DP, OU or ST in the cash assistance PT field on the SEPA system

The 12 countable months for the STBL ruling include any benefits received through the TANF program on or after October 1, 2002. That means that if you received TANF benefits prior to that date, those months will not count toward your allotted 12 months or any cash assistance extension. In cases such as these, you may be able to extend TANF benefits without even applying for a hardship, as you may not have received the full amount of allotted benefits yet.

Additionally, when determining your countable or extendable TANF assistance beneficiary months, the following months are not countable:

  • Any month prior to October 1, 2002

  • Any month that cash assistance benefits are prorated, due to being an initial month of eligibility

  • Any month in which the budgetary unit was totally ineligible for cash assistance benefits, due to an overpayment

  • Any months for which the household receives Grant Diversion payment; this includes all of the months the payment is intended to cover

  • Any month in which the dependent child was the only participant in the household and was in the legal custody of the state of Arizona

  • Any month that a participant was residing on an Indian Reservation when the unemployment rate is above 49 percent

  • Any month in which cash assistance benefits were received in another state; the STBL only considers cash assistance received in Arizona

Cash Assistance Extension Requirements in Arizona

A cash assistance benefits extension in Arizona can only be applied for if your household is experiencing what the state of Arizona deems as a hardship. By now, you may be wondering, “How can I extend cash assistance benefits?” In order to receive an extension of TANF benefits in Arizona, it is important to understand what qualifies as a hardship, and which households meet TANF extension requirements.

You may be eligible for an STBL hardship cash assistance extension when all of the following apply:

  • Your household has received 12 or more countable months of cash assistance within the state of Arizona

  • A TANF extension is requested verbally or in writing

  • All adults within the household are in compliance with DCSS, immunization, job program and school attendance requirements

Additionally, to get a TANF extension, one of the following must be true:

  • The PI, spouse of the PI or another adult within the household is a nonparent specified relative who is at least 60 years old

  • The PI, his or her spouse or any other adult within the household who is financially responsible for the dependent child has a temporary or permanent disability

  • The PI, his or her spouse or another adult within the home that is financially responsible for the child is in need of a full-time caretaker

  • The PI, his or her spouse or another adult within the household who is financially responsible for the child is a victim of a recent crime, domestic violence or other violence

  • Participants are homeless

  • The PI, his or her spouse, or another adult in the home who is responsible for the dependent child are unable to complete educational or training programs without cash assistance

  • The PI, his or her spouse or other adult in the home who is financially responsible for the dependent minor cannot find affordable childcare, thus preventing employment

  • The PI, his or her spouse of the PI or another adult that is financially responsible for the dependent child does not have readily available or affordable transportation in the area, thus preventing employment

Download our complimentary guide to read more about cash assistance extension requirements.

How to Get a TANF Extension in Arizona

Now that you understand the requirements of a cash assistance benefits extension in Arizona, it is important to know when and how to apply for an STBL hardship extension.

You will receive a renewal notice in the mail prior to the end of your TANF benefits, making it crucial that you report any changes in your mailing address, ensuring that you receive this letter. The letter will include a TANF benefits extension application, which you can complete and return either to your local office or by mail. If you do not receive this letter, you can call or visit your local office to obtain one.

Alternatively, you can complete and submit the Cash Assistance Benefit Limit Extension Request to get a TANF benefits extension, which can be found on the Arizona Department of Economic Security website. Learn more about how to extend TANF benefits in our free, downloadable guide.

What Kind of Assistance Does the Arizona Family Assistance Services Department Offer?

The state of Arizona can assist eligible families with services such as food assistance or temporary cash assistance. To assess your eligibility, you must fill out an application and provide the required documents. To learn all of the details needed to prepare for this application process, download our comprehensive guide today.

Who Is Eligible To Benefit From the Arizona Family Assistance Services?

Eligible low-income families or individuals in Arizona can benefit from programs offered by the Family Assistance Services Department. Temporary financial assistance or Nutrition Assistance services are available to those who qualify upon filing an application. To find out if your family is eligible for these benefits, download our guide now.