TANF Time Limit Rules: Exemptions

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II. Exemptions: Some months don’t count—these months are “exempt” from the time limit.

A month does not count toward the time limit if:

  • The only people on the TANF grant are children who are living with a single parent getting SSI. If there are two parents in the household, both parents must be getting SSI to be exempt;

  • The TANF grant for that month was a “child only” grant. A parent must be on the TANF grant for the month to count. Even months that a family was getting a “child only” grant because the parent was sanctioned do not count toward the 60-month limit;

  • You were a minor child in that month. This means that any month you got TANF as a child in your own parent’s household will not count toward 60-month time limit. (If you were a teen parent head of household receiving your own TANF grant, then the month will count towards your 60-month time limit);

  • The child or children are living with a caretaker relative (such as a grandparent) who is not their parent, and that caretaker relative is not on the TANF grant;

  • You got only a non-cash benefit from the TANF Program like Alternative Aid, Emergency Assistance, or any TANF transitional benefit like child care, transportation or “worker supplement” benefits.

  • The family includes an adult who lives in “Indian” country where at least 50% of the adult tribal members are unemployed. All Native Americans living on tribal land in Maine are considered to be living in “Indian” country. As of June 2012, it appears that the following groups are exempt based on their unemployment rates: the Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians; the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians; Passamaquoddy members living at both Pleasant Point and Indian Township. Members of the Penobscot tribe may be eligible if the tribes can show DHHS that at least 50% of the adults living on the reservation are unemployed.

Here’s an example of how an exemption should work: Anne and her two children have received TANF since January 2006. Anne started to receive SSI in January of 2008 and still receives it. This means that only 24 months of TANF count toward her 60 month limit (the months from January 2006 through December 2007). So if Anne loses her SSI because she is no longer disabled, she will still have 3 years of TANF benefits available to her.

June 2012