While we are not affiliated with the government in any way, our private company engaged writers to research the LIHEAP program and compiled a guide and the following answers to frequently asked questions. Our goal is to help you get the benefits that you need by providing useful information on the process.
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The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides financial assistance to low-income families. The goal of TANF is to help families become financially self-sufficient. States and U.S. Territories receive block grants from the federal government, which are used to fund each state and territory’s specific TANF program.
Learn more about the TANF program and its primary purposes here.
In Iowa, the TANF program is known as the Family Investment Program (FIP) in Iowa. To learn more about FIP and the assistance benefits it provides, visit the Iowa FIP website here.
Family Investment Program in Iowa (FIP) provides temporary assistance to financially support families in need. The FIP program also provides eligible families with work preparation services to help them re-enter the workforce or find more stable employment. Likewise, the program helps with childcare costs.
For more information on the services the FIP program provides to participating families, review the Iowa FIP FAQs page here.
FIP and Food Assistance are both assistance programs administered by the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS). While Food Assistance benefits can only be used to purchase foods that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, FIP benefits are money that can be used however the participant sees fit, with some restrictions.
To learn more about the restrictions on FIP expenditures, review the FIP Electronic Access Card PDF here.
Both FIP and Food Assistance benefits can be given to participants on an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card. However, FIP benefits can be transferred directly into a participant’s bank account or withdrawn from an approved ATM. Food Assistance benefits cannot.
Many FIP participants also qualify for Food Assistance due to the low-income requirement of both programs. For more information about Food Assistance, click here.
To apply for Food Assistance and/or FIP, visit the DHS Services Portal here.
If you have questions about FIP or Food Assistance, call the Department of Human Services at (800) 972-2017.
The exact benefit amount a family will receive each month will depend on their household income, size and resources.
Eligible families of three can receive a maximum of $426 per month. Families can receive these benefits for up to 60 months throughout their lifetime.
Learn more information about FIP and benefit amounts in Iowa here.
To qualify for FIP in Iowa, you must meet the following requirements:
Learn more about income requirements and work and training requirements here.
Caretakers of children who cannot be taken care of by their immediate family may also qualify for benefits under the Caretaker Relative Grant or Child-Only FIP Grant. This grant takes into consideration the situation of emergency caregivers and will only count the resources and the income of the child (if any) and not those of the caretaker.
To learn more about who can receive FIP benefits, click here.
Before you apply for the Family Investment Program in Iowa, complete the following three steps:
Learn about the FIP eligibility requirements here.
Find a list of what you need to apply on the Iowa Financial Support Application here.
To apply for FIP online, create an account on the DHS Services Portal here and fill out the virtual application form.
To apply for FIP in person, click here to find the nearest Iowa DHS Division of Field Operations office location.
To apply for FIP by fax or mail, fill out the Iowa Financial Support Application here and send it with copies of your necessary documents to the nearest Iowa DHS Division of Field Operations office. Find office location information here.
If you have any further questions about the application process, call the Iowa Department of Human Services at (800) 972-2017.
If you need an application in Spanish, click here.
Depending on your method of application, you can check your application status in the following ways:
If needed, the DHS Division of Field Operations office will schedule an interview with you.
You should receive a notice in the mail from the Department of Human Services within 30 days of receiving your application with your determination, your benefit amount and how you will be receiving the benefits, if you are eligible.
If you have a valid bank account listed on your application, your FIP benefits will be deposited within 7 days of when you receive your determination letter. Otherwise, you will receive an EBT card in the mail.
Once you receive your benefits, you can use them to support your family as you see fit, while following the restrictions.
Learn more information about how to use your EBT card and how benefits will be distributed here.
If you require additional assistance or have questions about your determination call (800) 972-2017.
If you do not agree with the FIP benefit decision given to you by the Iowa Department of Human Services, you can appeal your decision online, in person, by phone or in writing within 15 days of receiving your determination letter.
To file an appeal online, click here.
To file an appeal in person, visit a local Department of Human Services office. You will need to speak with a representative and tell them why you are appealing your determination. You will also need to bring your benefit determination letter and evidence that supports your appeal. Find your nearest location here.
To file a claim by phone, call (515) 281-3094.
To file a claim in writing (by mail or by fax), you will need to write a letter that includes the following information:
You must also enclose a copy of your determination letter when filing an appeal in writing. You may submit your request:
Department of Human Services
1305 E. Walnut Street, 5th Floor
Des Moines, IA 50319
For more information on the appeal process, review the Appeals Process page here.
For help with obtaining Family Investment Program in Iowa, or for any further questions about your application, call the Iowa Department of Human Services at (800) 972-2017.
You can also visit or call a local DHS Division of Field Operations Office for further assistance. Find your nearest location here.
Offices and services are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
While we are not affiliated with the government in any way, our private company engaged writers to research the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and compiled a guide and these answers to frequently asked questions. Our goal is to help you get the benefits that you need by providing useful information on the process.
Our free TANF Guide is filled with helpful information about how to apply, program eligibility requirements and how to get in touch with local offices. You can view or download our free guide here.