Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA)
Topics on this page
- What is temporary cash assistance?
- Income Eligibility
- Asset Eligibility
- Sources of Law
What is Temporary Cash Assistance?
Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) provides cash assistance to families with dependent children when available resources do not fully address the family’s needs. TCA also prepares participants for independence through job training.
Many figures used to calculate Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) benefits are revised annually by the Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) Family Investment Administration, the state agency that administers the program. Changes to the program can be found in the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 07.03.03, or on the DHS website. You may also contact your local Department of Human Services office for updated figures. Benefit amount varies depending on individual and household circumstances.
Minor child residing with a parent or another adult caretaker relative or a pregnant woman with no other child. A recipient must be a U.S. citizen or a legal immigrant who meets the full conditions of the rules of the program. A "child" must be under 18 or under 19 and a full time secondary school student. Additional eligibility requirements are available on the DHS website and in the COMAR.
TCA has a 5 year (60 month) lifetime limit for recipients. Recipients may go on and off of TCA as often as needed, but may not exceed the 60 months of benefits unless they meet the requirements for a hardship exemption. This and other limitations are explained in COMAR 07.03.03.20.
Net income (from any source must be below limit after certain deductions such as child care payments, 20% of any earned income...)
Net Income by Household Size:
The assistance unit (07.03.03.06) is not eligible for TCA if the total net income is more than the allowable payment amount for the unit size, as listed below (based on $0 income). Additionally, DHS will only issue a benefit if the assistance unit is determined to be eligible for $10 or more. (07.03.03.13)
- $282 (or pregnant woman)
(These amounts may change; you should not decide to apply for benefits solely on the bases of the information here. The rules are complicated, and the only way to be positive whether you are eligible is by filing an application.)
Effective October 1, 2013 to present
Many figures used to calculate Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) benefits are revised annually by the Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) Family Investment Administration, the state agency that administers the program. Changes to the program can be found in the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 07.03.03, or on the DHS website. You may also contact your local Department of Human Services office for updated figures.
TCA does not consider assets/resources when determining eligibility for most applicants. The asset/resource cap for sponsored immigrants is $2000. Check with your local DHS Office for additional and up-to-date information about assets. See here and here for more about this rule.
The Maryland Department of Human Services' web site has information, an application form you can download and print, and more. You can see if you may be eligible with the Department of Human Services "Am I Eligible" benefits calculator. Find your local DHS Office.
You can apply online through myDHR
This program is very complicated, and is different from county to county. It is always a good idea to get legal advice if you are denied or terminated, or if benefits are reduced.
You can appeal any decision or action taken by DHS that you disagree with. Here are some examples: application denial, benefit termination or reduction, DHS has not made a decision on an application within 30 days, referral to a work program that you disagree with, overpayment, you receive a sanction but had an excuse or good cause.
If you have a disability and need DHS to accommodate you, you can request a reasonable accommodation. You can make the request in any way (such as orally or in writing). If DHS does not make a decision on your request or denies your request, you can appeal that decision. For more information visit the DHS website.
Appeals can be filed in writing at the DHS office. It is best to file it in person and to get a receipt showing that you filed the appeal. Here is a link to a Request for Fair Hearing Form.
You can also mail the form to:
Office of Administrative Hearings
11101 Gilroy Road
Hunt Valley, MD 21031-1301
You may request an appeal within 90 days of DHS providing timely and adequate notice of an action. If proper notice was not provided, you can request an appeal within 90 days of the action taken.
If you file within 10 days of notice that benefits are being terminated or reduced, you have a right to request that DHS continue your benefits uninterrupted until the decision. If you do not want benefits to continue until the decision you must specifically request that they not continue.
Sources of Law
Federal Law: 42 United States Code §§ 601 to 619
Federal Regulations: 45 Code of Federal Regulations §§ 260.10 and following sections
State Regulations: COMAR 07.03.03.00 to 07.03.03.9999
- 07.03.03.06 - The Assistance Unit (who is included)
- 07.03.03.07 - Eligibility Requirements (residence, and other factors besides financial eligibility)
- 07.03.03.11 - Financial Eligibility (income eligibility rules)
- 07.03.03.12 - Assets (eligibility rules about bank accounts and other valuable property; what is counted, and what is not counted)
- 07.03.03.13 - Income and Benefit Amount (how to count income and factors considered for determining benefit amount)
- 07.03.03.23 - Appeals (conferences with DHS and hearings)
- 07.03.03.04 - Administrative Hearings