How to Collect Welfare & Unemployment Together

How to Collect Welfare & Unemployment Together
••• dragana991/iStock/GettyImages

Collecting welfare and employment together is possible for individuals in severe financial need. Welfare, also known as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, or TANF, is administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and offers a variety of services, including food stamps and cash assistance, for families that fall within prescribed income boundaries. Unemployment assistance is available from the state government in the state in which you work.

Find your local TANF office. While TANF is a federal program, it is administered on the local level. Therefore, you can meet with local TANF staff to ask questions, check your eligibility status and apply. Eligibility status varies from state to state, but all states require that TANF recipients are citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

Bring your passport, birth certificate, state-issued driver's license or other government-issued identification to the local TANF office where you will apply for welfare. You will also be asked to submit pay stubs, tax returns and, possibly, bank statements that illustrate how much income you receive and what assets you have to determine your eligibility. Eligibility in most states is on a sliding scale, dependent on income, number of dependents in a household and disability status. Keep in mind that in some states TANF is a work program; therefore, you must have or be actively searching for work to qualify for TANF. Often, in states that have a work component to TANF, if you do not have a job, an employment specialist will be hired to help you find work. Once you have filled out an application and produced all the necessary paperwork, your application will be filed with your local TANF office and you must wait for a response. Application processing times vary by TANF office.

Find your state government's unemployment office. Generally, you can use the phone book and call the state government operator, or you can find the website through the state government's website. Via telephone or online, make an appointment with your local unemployment office.

Provide your local unemployment office with your social security card and government-issued ID. To fulfill the unemployment application requirements, you will most likely have to give your previous employer's contact information for verification purposes.

Write down all the requirements you must fulfill to continue receiving unemployment benefits. Requirements vary from state to state, but common requirements include actively searching for work and sending weekly reports about the status of your search.


  • Unemployment benefits must be reported on your government tax return.