WV WORKS or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): Common Questions

Last Updated On: 9/25/2015 6:38:23 PM

What is WV WORKS?

West Virginia's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program is called "WV WORKS." WV WORKS provides monthly cash assistance to families who qualify. Most people who receive a monthly WV WORKS check also get food stamps and Medicaid, but these are not guaranteed.

Can I get WV WORKS?

Whether you can get WV WORKS depends on your family's income and certain deductions that are applied to it. More information about whether you qualify is available from the local WV Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) office in your county.

How can I apply for WV WORKS?

You can apply in person at your County’s Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) office on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. You can also apply for WV WORKS online here.

What benefits will I get under WV WORKS?

Cash benefits are based on family size, earned and unearned income, and housing expenses. Benefits in West Virginia are limited to 60 months (5 years), and benefits are paid using an Electronic Benefit Transfer card (EBT).

How long do WV WORKS or TANF benefits last?

Adults in West Virginia generally have a 5 year or 60 month lifetime limit on getting a WV WORKS benefit. If a child does not live with parents, or if the child’s parents are not eligible for WV WORKS because they get SSI or have a drug charge, a child could be eligible for "child only" WV WORKS benefits until age 18.

What is a TANF or WV WORKS "household"?

There must be at least one child under 18 living in the house for a household to qualify for WV WORKS. The household must consist of a child under 18 and the child’s WV WORKS eligible brothers, sisters, half-brothers, half-sisters, and parents who live with the child.

A child who gets social security income can get WV WORKS if the parent the child lives with meets TANF eligibility requirements. Stepbrothers and stepsisters are not considered part of the household unless they are eligible for WV WORKS.

The parents of the child must be included if they live in the house, whether they are married or not. Stepparents must be included in the TANF household and either the stepparent will be eligible for benefits or stepparent budgeting will apply. Once the household is determined, all income and assets of the persons required to be included must be considered in determining eligibility.

What are my rights in dealing with the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) if I think they are not being fair?

You are entitled to a "Fair Hearing." A Fair Hearing is an hearing that is held to settle disagreements between DHHR and families receiving some kind of benefit, such as food stamps, a welfare check (WV WORKS), a medical card, Emergency Assistance, School clothing voucher, or CHIP. The “judge” at the Fair Hearing is a State Administrative Hearing Officer. The officer will be a neutral decision maker. To learn more about Fair Hearings and preparing for them, go here.

I was turned down for WV WORKS. Is there anything I can do?

You should ask for a Fair Hearing to find out if you think that DHHR made a mistake in turning you down for WV WORKS. You should have gotten a Fair Hearing Request form with your denial letter or you can get one here.  To learn more about Fair Hearings and preparing for them, go here.

I don't want DHHR to try to collect child support reimbursement from my child’s other parent for benefits I receive because I am a victim of domestic violence and I am afraid. Is there anything I can do?

You can ask DHHR not to try to collect from the other parent under the "Good Cause Exception" to child support collection at DHHR. If you have anything you can take to DHHR that shows your reasons for fear, such as a Protective Order, a police report, records of an injury, or a letter from your local domestic violence Court Advocate, that can be helpful. For more information on the "Good Cause Exception" go here.

Helpful Links for More Information

You can apply online and check your benefits at the DHHR's inROADS system here.

This is general legal information. For guidance about your situation, talk to a lawyer.