TANF Time Limit Rules: Intro

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As of January, 2012, a family can get TANF for no more than 60 months unless they qualify for an “exemption” or an “extension.” This is a lifetime limit. Many families have already received notice that they have reached the limit or are about to reach the limit. If they do not qualify for an exemption or extension, their TANF benefits will end on May 31, 2012.

A family can qualify for an “exemption” at any time while getting TANF. An exemption will “stop the clock.” This means that any month that you qualify for an exemption will not count toward your 60-month time limit.

“Extensions” are different than “exemptions.” Extensions aren’t available until you have reached your 60-month time limit. An extension gives you additional months of TANF, but only under certain circumstances. In most cases you can get an extension for as long as you have a qualifying reason. You can read more about extensions here.

Important Note: The TANF time limit only applies to months that a family gets TANF. This time limit does not apply to Food Supplement benefits or MaineCare.

June 2012

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