While the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP) were both designed to assist low-income families, there are a number of differences between the two. Below are descriptions of the two programs:


TANF – Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

  • TANF provides families funds to pay bills, utilities, and other necessities

  • TANF is temporary. Recipients are limited to receiving benefits for only 60 months during their lifetimes.

  • The amounts in the chart on the left are the total received in a month.

  • It is received twice a month.

  • Grants are reduced if families receive other income.

  • Unless exempt, TANF recipients must take part in welfare-to-work programs.

  • For more information about TANF, visit: http://www.dhs.pa.gov/citizens/cashassistance/index.htm

SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps)

  • Provides eligible families with funds to purchase food items.

  • Families and individuals are eligible for SNAP benefits even if they are working.

  • Eligibility can be limited by income and resources.

  • SNAP grants increase based on some household expenses (unlike TANF).

  • A SNAP household includes everyone who customarily purchases and prepares meals together, plus some “mandatory members.”

  • For more information about SNAP, visit: http://www.dhs.pa.gov/citizens/supplementalnutritionassistanceprogram/index.htm