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Alaska Temporary Assistance Program (ATAP)

The Alaska Temporary Assistance Program (ATAP) provides cash assistance and work services to low-income families with children to help them with basic needs while they work toward becoming self-sufficient. This program is provided under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant.

ATAP changed the traditional focus of the state’s public assistance program for needy families to an employment-focused program from an entitlement under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. Temporary Assistance stresses family self-sufficiency through employment. 

Alaska Temporary Assistance Program:

  • Imposes a 60-month lifetime limit on assistance
  • Limits additional assistance for second parents, and reduces benefits for two-parent families during July, August, and September when there are better opportunities for employment
  • Requires families to complete a Family Self-Sufficiency Plan, identify self-sufficiency goals and work or participate in activities that will move them toward those goals
  • Requires cooperation with the Child Support Services Division in establishing paternity for the children, locating the absent parent, and collecting any child support the absent parent is responsible for paying
  • Prohibits making purchases with or accessing cash benefits on EBT cards at any ATMs thatare located in bars, liquor stores, gambling or adult entertainment establishments.

Eligible Families:

To receive Temporary Assistance, the family must have less than $2,000 in countable resources, or $3,000 if the family includes an individual who is 60 or older. Resources that do not count include the family’s home, household goods and personal property, and most vehicles.

The family must also have countable income less than the ATAP income limit. When an adult goes to work, a portion of their earnings is disregarded as an incentive to work. The amount of the disregards decreases over a five-year period.

The amount of cash assistance a family receives depends on the family’s size, income and shelter expenses. Benefits are reduced for families with low shelter costs. Also only one parent is included in the household size for families with two parents who are both able to work.

Temporary Assistance Income and Eligibility standards

Work Requirement

The goal of the Temporary Assistance program is to move Alaskans into jobs so they can support their families. To attain this goal, the program uses the "Work First" approach. Work First holds that the best way to succeed in the labor marked is to get a job, then develop more skills and work habits on the job to advance and leave assistance.

Temporary Assistance participants are required to look for paid employment. Individuals who cannot find immediate paid employment participate in activities that focus on gaining skills and experience that lead directly to employment, and increase the family’s self-sufficiency. Such activities include community work experience, job skills and life skills training, adult basic education and GED preparation.

Support Services

Families who are moving to work need a variety of services to help them find and keep a job, and successfully transition off assistance. The services that are available include help with transportation costs, including vehicle repairs and driver’s license, interview clothing and personal grooming, and special tools, clothing, and equipment needed for employment. In addition, On-the-Job Training (OJT) and wage supplementation programs are available.

Child Care

Safe, affordable childcare is a must if families are to move into jobs. For many families, the cost of childcare can be a considerable financial burden. Temporary Assistance provides help with child care costs so that the adults in the family can work or participate in activities that will move them toward self-sufficiency.