Public Assistance Programs

AmeriCorps Manual Main Page

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)

A member's Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits are affected by the AmeriCorps living allowance. For TANF purposes, the living allowance is considered non-exempt earned income. This means that for every $3.00 a member earns before taxes and other payroll deductions, the TANF grant is reduced by $1.00. For example, the TANF grant of a member that makes $600 per month before payroll deductions would be decreased by $200 (one-third of $600).

Serving as an AmeriCorps member is considered an allowable work activity as long as a member serves at least 30 hours per week (effective October 1999). This means that the lifetime benefit clock for members serving at least 30 hours per week will be stopped.

Federal legislation allows each state to determine how AmeriCorps benefits will affect TANF grants and if serving as an AmeriCorps member is an allowable work activity. The information above is for Illinois only and will vary by state.


The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) AmeriCorps Provisions, dated 9/6/05, states that programs must provide health care coverage to all full-time AmeriCorps members. In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recognizes that AmeriCorps members, who will receive AmeriCorps health care coverage, also may be receiving Medicaid coverage. DHHS has stated that AmeriCorps Medicaid recipients are not waived from AmeriCorps health care coverage.

Because Medicaid "wraps around" other available health care coverage, Medicaid will only pick up the costs that are not covered under the primary AmeriCorps policy. Medicaid is always a secondary form of coverage when there is another health care policy in place.

Members who remain on TANF will continue to receive Medicaid for their dependents. Members who lose TANF due to the living allowance may still qualify for Medicaid or Family Health Plan, and may usually continue to receive extended Medicaid coverage for their dependents for up to one year.

*Please visit PM 08-01-01-i: AmeriCorps for information regarding TANF