Iowa Family Investment Program (TANF)

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Iowa Family Investment Program
Iowa Family Investment Program

Iowa’s Family Investment Program (FIP) plays a crucial role in providing temporary assistance to needy families, with the primary goal of helping them become self-supporting. Cash assistance is provided to ensure that children can be cared for within their own homes or the homes of relatives.

One essential aspect of the FIP program is the monthly payment standard, which outlines the maximum amount families receive based on their size. This article delves into the historical evolution of Iowa’s FIP benefit amounts, highlighting key milestones and changes over the years.

What is Iowa Family Investment Program (TANF)?

The Family Investment Program (FIP) provides temporary financial and other assistance to low income families with children while they move toward self-sufficiency.

Purpose of Iowa Family Investment Program

The Iowa Family Investment Program (FIP) is a state assistance program designed to provide financial support and resources to eligible low-income families in the state of Iowa. The program aims to achieve several important purposes:

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  1. Income Support: FIP serves as a form of income support for low-income families, offering financial assistance to help meet their basic needs. This support is particularly crucial for families facing economic challenges or temporary hardships.
  2. Poverty Alleviation: One of the primary goals of the Iowa Family Investment Program is to alleviate poverty among participating families. By providing financial aid, FIP aims to improve the economic well-being of eligible households and reduce their risk of falling below the poverty line.
  3. Family Stability: FIP contributes to the stability of eligible families by helping them meet essential expenses, such as rent, utilities, and food. By addressing immediate financial needs, the program supports families in maintaining stable living conditions.
  4. Work Incentives: FIP is designed to encourage and support work among eligible individuals. The program often includes provisions that allow participants to earn income through employment while still receiving a level of financial assistance. This helps promote self-sufficiency and economic independence.
  5. Child Well-Being: FIP recognizes the importance of supporting children within low-income families. By providing financial assistance to these families, the program aims to improve the well-being of children by ensuring access to basic necessities, such as nutritious food, proper housing, and healthcare.
  6. Job Training and Education: Some versions of assistance programs like FIP may include components focused on job training and education. These provisions help recipients develop skills and qualifications that can enhance their employment prospects and lead to long-term self-sufficiency.
  7. Temporary Assistance: FIP is often structured as a temporary assistance program, providing support during times of need. This distinguishes it from long-term welfare programs and underscores its role as a safety net for families facing short-term economic challenges.
  8. Collaboration with Other Programs: FIP may work in conjunction with other state and federal assistance programs to provide a comprehensive support system for eligible families. This collaboration ensures that families can access a range of resources to address various aspects of their needs.

Overall, the Iowa Family Investment Program is designed to address the immediate financial needs of low-income families, promote self-sufficiency, and contribute to poverty reduction in the state of Iowa. Eligibility criteria for the program may include factors such as income, family size, and other relevant circumstances.

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Iowa FIP Benefit Amounts

Historical Payment Standards: The FIP payment standards have remained unchanged since July 1, 1990, making it vital to understand the historical progression leading up to this date. Below is a breakdown of the FIP monthly payment standards for different family sizes over the years:

January 1, 1986:

  • Two: $381
  • Three: $322
  • Four: $443
  • Five: $490
  • Six: $545

July 1, 1988:

  • Two: $333
  • Three: $394
  • Four: $458
  • Five: $507
  • Six: $564

July 1, 1989:

  • Two: $347
  • Three: $410
  • Four: $476
  • Five: $527
  • Six: $587

July 1, 1990:

  • Two: $361
  • Three: $426
  • Four: $495
  • Five: $548
  • Six: $610

It’s important to note that the listed amounts are the maximum a family of a particular size would receive if there were no additional income.

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Who is eligible for Iowa Family Investment Program (TANF)?

To be eligible for the FIP program people need to meet financial and non-financial eligibility criteria. This includes being income and asset eligible, having a minor child, having a social security number, cooperating with the Child Support Services office, being a United States citizen or have a qualified alien status and being a resident of Iowa.

FIP applicants and participants must cooperate with the Department’s work and training program, PROMISE JOBS. As a condition of FIP eligibility prior to receiving benefits, applicants must meet with a PROMISE JOBS case manager to develop a self-sufficiency plan known as the Family Investment Agreement (FIA).

The FIA outlines the steps the family will take to become independent of FIP assistance. Once FIP is approved, FIP recipients must follow the requirements of the FIA to continue receiving FIP. FIP assistance has a federal lifetime limit of 60 months of assistance received in all states.

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Iowa FIP Benefit Amounts Stability Since 1990 

Since July 1, 1990, Iowa’s FIP payments have remained consistent, signaling a long period without adjustments to the benefit amounts. This stability reflects the state’s approach to providing a reliable and predictable support system for eligible families, ensuring that they can plan their budgets with confidence.

What Counts Toward the 60 Month Limit?

Any month an adult head of household gets FIP benefits counts toward the 60-month limit. Also, under federal law, any TANF (welfare) payment a person gets in any state counts toward the 60 months. For any month that the FIP child lives with both parents and only one parent is on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), that month counts toward the 60-month limit. But, the 60-month limit does not apply if the FIP child lives with one parent and that parent is on SSI or if the child lives with both parents and they are both on SSI. 

Example 1: A mom and her two children get FIP. The whole family will be ineligible when the mom has received FIP for 60 months.

Example 2: Dad and Mom are married and have two children. Mom is disabled and has been getting SSI. Dad does not get SSI. The family has received FIP since January of 2009. The family will be subject to the 60-month limit since one of the parents was on the FIP grant and not on SSI. If the family was only Mom and her two children, the family would not be subject to the 60-month limit since the children would be living with one parent and that parent is on SSI.

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Iowa FIP Amounts

Effective DateTwoThreeFourFiveSix
January 1, 1986$322$321$443$490$545
July 1, 1988333394458507564
July 1, 1989347410476527587
July 1, 1990361426495548610

How do I apply for Food Assistance or FIP benefits?

  • The fastest and easiest way to apply for benefits is to complete the online application located at: https://www.dhs.iowa.gov/how-to-apply
  • If you don’t already have Food Assistance benefits and apply anytime in April you will get the full monthly maximum amount of benefits for your household size, if you are eligible. If you apply anytime in May you will get the full monthly maximum amount of
    benefits for your household size for May, if you are eligible.

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Separate Calculation for Food Assistance

The FIP program is complemented by food assistance, which is calculated separately. Families in need receive additional support for food, enhancing their overall ability to meet basic needs.

NOTE: Iowa FIP Benefit Amounts

  • The Family Investment Program payment amount is the maximum a family of that size would receive if there was no income. Food assistance is in addition to the Family Investment Program and is based on a separate calculation.
  • For years not listed, the rate did not change from the previously listed year.
  • The Family Investment Program payments have not changed since July 1, 1990.

FIP is Iowa’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program and provides cash assistance to needy families as they become self-supporting so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives.

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How do I apply for FIP in Iowa? 

You may get an application from any local DHS office in the county where you live. Fill out the application and take or mail it to the local DHS office. For expedited processing, you may also apply online through OASIS — DHS Online Application for State of Iowa Services.

DHS Division of Field Operations 1-800- 972-2017

FAQs. Iowa Family Investment Program

1. What is the Iowa Family Investment Program (FIP)?

The Iowa Family Investment Program (FIP) is a state assistance program designed to provide financial support to eligible low-income families in Iowa. It aims to alleviate poverty, promote family stability, and encourage self-sufficiency.

2. Who is eligible for the Iowa FIP?

Eligibility for FIP is based on factors such as income, family size, and other circumstances. Families with children may qualify, and eligibility criteria are designed to assist those facing economic challenges.

3. How do I apply for FIP in Iowa?

To apply for FIP, you can visit the Iowa Department of Human Services website or contact your local Department of Human Services office. The application process typically involves providing information about your household, income, and expenses.

4. What types of assistance does FIP provide?

FIP provides financial assistance to eligible families to help them meet basic needs, such as rent, utilities, and food. The program may also include components focused on job training and education to support recipients in gaining employment.

5. Is FIP a temporary assistance program?

Yes, FIP is often structured as a temporary assistance program, providing support during times of need. The goal is to help families overcome short-term economic challenges and work towards long-term self-sufficiency.

6. Can I work and still receive FIP benefits?

Yes, FIP typically includes provisions that allow recipients to work and earn income while still receiving a level of financial assistance. This is designed to encourage self-sufficiency and economic independence.

7. How is FIP different from other assistance programs?

FIP is specifically tailored to low-income families with children in Iowa. While it shares the goal of providing financial assistance with other programs, FIP may have unique features, eligibility criteria, and components such as job training.

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8. What happens if my FIP application is denied?

If your FIP application is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. Information about the appeal process should be provided in the denial notice.

9. How often do I need to recertify for FIP benefits?

Recertification is typically required at regular intervals. During recertification, you will update information about your household, income, and expenses to ensure continued eligibility for FIP benefits.

10. Can FIP be combined with other assistance programs?

FIP may work in conjunction with other state and federal assistance programs to provide comprehensive support. Collaborations with programs addressing healthcare, childcare, and education may enhance the assistance available to eligible families.

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