The financial assistance programs provide income support to individuals and families to meet their basic needs while encouraging their maximum degree of independence. The programs are:
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program was signed into law on August 22, 1996. This federal legislation provides block grants to states to fund programs that provide services and benefits to needy families. TANF was designed to give states flexibility to operate programs that serve one of the following purposes:
- Provides assistance to needy families so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives
- Ends the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work and marriage
- Prevents and reduces the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and establishes annual numerical goals for preventing and reducing the incidence of these pregnancies
- Encourages the formation and maintenance of two parent families
In Connecticut, TANF funds the Temporary Family Assistance program, Safety Net, Employment Services and many other programs and services for needy families. For a description of all of the programs and services funded by TANF, please go to our TANF State Plan .
Jobs First Temporary Family Assistance (TFA) provides cash assistance to families. For families with an employable adult, there is a 21-month lifetime limit for the receipt of TFA. Families in which there is no employable adult have no limit to the duration of the benefits. Eligibility is based on income being lower than a set standard and assets being below limits. Earned income of recipients of TFA that are working are not counted until they are equal to the federal poverty level. They are thus allowed to keep all earnings up to the federal poverty level as well as the cash assistance benefit. Families are allowed to have up to $3,000 in a bank account, and life insurance policies and pension plans are excluded. The equity value of an automobile in excess of $9,500 counts towards the asset limit. The amount of assistance varies depending on which of three regions of the state they live in. The assistance for a family of three in the most populous region is $500 per month if in subsidized housing, $543 if not. Adults in the family are subject to digital imaging of their fingerprints to prevent receipt of duplicate assistance.
Families subject to the time limit may qualify for six-month extensions to the limit if they have good cause for being unemployed or underemployed (earning less than the TFA benefit) at the end of the 21-month period, or any extension.
Minor parents are required to live with a parent, stepparent, or legal guardian. If there is good reason why the minor parent cannot live with one of these, then the minor must reside with an adult relative or in an adult-supervised living arrangement.
Jobs First Employment Services (ES) are designed to rapidly move recipients of TFA into employment and toward self-sufficiency. Priority is given to families subject to the 21-month time limit and all such families are required to participate in employment services. Jobs First uses a workforce attachment model, with employment being the immediate goal of the participant and job search is generally required before any other services are made available. Child care and transportation assistance is available for families participating in activities that will lead to employment.
Child care assistance is available to TFA recipients who need child care to accept or retain employment. Such assistance continues until the family's income reaches 75% of the state's median income level.
Families receiving TFA are eligible for medical assistance under Medicaid. Such assistance continues for at least two years following ineligibility for TFA if a member of the family was working at the time, or if a family member went to work within six months of ineligibility for TFA.
State Supplement Cash Assistance
The State Supplement Cash Assistance program provides cash assistance to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled to supplement their income and maintain them at a standard of living established by the State Legislature. In order to receive benefits, individuals must have another source of income such as Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, or Veterans’ benefits. To qualify as aged, and individual must be 65 years of age or older; to qualify as disabled, an individual must be between the ages of 18 and 65 and meet the disability criteria of the federal Social Security Disability Insurance program; and to qualify as blind, an individual must meet the criteria of the Social Security Disability program, or the State Board of Education and Services for the Blind.
The program is funded entirely by state funds, but operates under both state and federal law and regulation. Incentives are available to encourage recipients to become as self-supporting as their ages or abilities will allow. State Supplement program payments also promote a higher degree of self-sufficiency by enabling recipients to remain in non-institutional living arrangements. People eligible for State Supplement are automatically eligible for Medicaid.
Liquid assets cannot exceed $1,600 for a single person or $2,400 for a couple.
To better serve our applicants and providers, effective August 1, 2015, DSS has realigned our three Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Application Centers.
State Administered General Assistance (SAGA) Cash Assistance
Through the SAGA Cash Assistance program, the Department provides cash assistance to individuals who are unable to work for medical or other prescribed reasons.
Employable individuals are not eligible for SAGA cash assistance. However, employable individuals who have substance abuse problems may be eligible to receive treatment and some financial support through the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services’ (DMHAS) Basic Needs Program. You can get information about the Basic Needs Program by calling toll-free 1-800-658-4472.
Domestic Violence Cash Benefit Program
Effective 7/1/21, pursuant to Connecticut Public Act 21-78, the state added an amendment to the State Administered General Assistance program, to allow for a one-time assistance payment to current victims of domestic violence who are facing current and immediate danger. A current victim of domestic violence is an individual who has experienced at least one of the following events within the ninety days (90) immediately preceding the request for assistance and believe that their safety is currently at risk:
- Physical acts that resulted in or were threatened to result in physical injury;
- Sexual abuse;
- Sexual activity involving a child in your home;
- Being forced to participate in nonconsensual sexual acts or activities;
- Threats of or attempts at physical or sexual abuse;
- Mental abuse; or
- Neglect or deprivation of medical care.