Temporary Cash Assistance Program (TCA)
Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) is one of the components of the Family Investment Program (FIP). The Federal and State funded program provides cash assistance and is available to families with children under 18 years old when other resources and services do not fully meet the family's needs. TCA programs emphasize achieving total independence from the FIP and the value of employment.
Some families may need only short-term assistance and will receive a Welfare Avoidance Grant (WAG) equivalent to three months of TCA benefits. The Welfare Avoidance Grant is provided as a one-time lump sum payment.
Applying for TCA
If you are applying for TCA you must:
- File for and cooperate with Child Support
- Comply with any job search requirements (unless exempt)
- Complete the needs assessment process
- Adhere to the mutually agreed upon Family Investment Plan
- Apply for all potential resources for which you may be eligible
- Provide verification for all members for whom you are applying for benefits
- Complete theTCA application form
Families eligible for federally funded TCA are automatically eligible for Medical Assistance but not all families eligible for federally funded TCA are eligible for the Food Supplement Program ,formerly Food Stamps.
Financial eligibility requirements test all income and assets of the members in the assistance unit unless they are otherwise excluded. Income, earned or unearned, cannot exceed the allowable benefit amount for the assistance unit size. Assets cannot exceed the current limit of $2000. If financial eligibility is not met, the entire assistance unit is ineligible.
How Long Can I Get TCA?
In your lifetime, you can get 60 months of TCA benefits unless you meet the requirements for a hardship exemption. You can go on and off of TCA as often as needed but your 60 months of benefits never start over. For example, if you get TCA for 10 months and you get a job, you only have 50 months of TCA benefits left if you become eligible for TCA again. After payment 60, your TCA benefits stop for the rest of your life. Use TCA wisely and only as a last resort.
The name of the work program in Baltimore County is Job Network. It requires that all applicants and mandatory teens are participating from the date of the TCA interview. Applicants and recipients must continue to comply with the program guidelines for the duration that they receive TCA benefits or risk being sanctioned.
Participation includes, but is not limited to:
- Completing an employability assessment
- Developing and following a family investment plan
- Job search and attending a work activity
Electronic Benefit Transfer System (EBTS)
In Maryland, recipients may access their benefits through a plastic card known as an Independence Card. This card can be used at an automated teller machine (ATM) or at a point-of-sale (POS) machine at participating grocers or retailers. A representative may receive training in the use of the card. EBT cards are mailed to the customer in all instances except emergencies approved by the local department.
- Applications must be filed
- Face-to-face interviews conducted
- All financial and technical eligibility factors met prior to issuance of benefits
Where to Apply
- Online: www.marylandsail.org
- At your local DSS district office
- Mail, fax or other electronic means
- Drop an application off - be sure to get a receipt
Revised April 19, 2012