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Many families that receive TANF cash assistance are required to participate in a welfare-to-work activity. Most people are required to do job search, community service, or some type of education and training activity.

The welfare office requires that you do 20 hours per week of activity if your youngest child is under six years old. You must do 30 hours per week of activity if your youngest child is six years old or over.

There are rules and limitations about what kinds of programs you can go to. But within those rules, every person has the right to choose which program is best for themselves.

If you are not able to participate in a welfare-to-work program, you can be excused from participating. Here are some examples of good reasons not to participate:

  • You are disabled (temporarily or permanently)
  • You or a family member are sick
  • You have problems with child care or transportation
  • You have a personal emergency
  • You are experiencing domestic violence

There are many other good reasons as well as these.
If the welfare office thinks that you are not following their rules, they may try to sanction, or punish, you. Contact us if you want to talk about your legal rights regarding when the welfare office can (and cannot) sanction you.

How to get help:

Walk-in Intake

Community Legal Services
North Philadelphia Law Center

1410 West Erie Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19140
Monday, Wednesday & Friday
9:00 am -12:00 pm

Philadelphia Legal Assistance
718 Arch Street, Suite 300N
Philadelphia, PA 19106-1535
Monday, Wednesday
9:00 am – 11:30 am

Phone Intake

Philadelphia Legal Assistance
Tuesday, Thursday
9:30 am – 12:00 pm