TANF for Legal Immigrants

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What is TANF?

TANF stands for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. TANF provides cash help to families with children living at home. TANF can help some legal immigrants pay for basic needs.

Can I get TANF?

You must be in the United States legally. You must have children living with you and have very low income.

Some legal immigrants cannot get TANF. Even if you are here legally, you may not be able to get TANF if:

  1. You are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) in your first 5 years with that legal status (and you are not a Refugee or Asylee);
  2. You have filed an application for permanent status and are still waiting for a decision;
  3. You have applied for Asylum status or another change in immigrant status with the federal immigration authorities and are waiting for a decision; or
  4. You have another less common legal status.

If you are legal and in one of these groups, you may be able to get help from TANF if:

  • You got help from TANF or had an application pending as of January 1, 2012;
  • You are elderly or disabled;
  • You have been a victim of domestic violence; or
  • You are waiting for work documentation; or
  • You have work documentation (EAD), but are unemployed.

For questions about programs you can contact:

Maine Equal Justice Partners
207-626-7058 or toll-free at 1-866-626-7059

For questions about immigrant status you can contact:

Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP)
207-780-1593 or toll-free at 1-800-497-8505

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