The criteria for determining if someone is eligible for welfare benefits varies by state but generally includes income and family size as key factors. An application needs to be filled out for an individual or family that wishes to receive welfare support. Welfare benefits are not automatically given out. Often a case manager is assigned and a claim made before determining eligibility for benefits.
According to Welfare Information, federal welfare benefits were established during the Great Depression and continued until the 1990s when control was given back to individual states. Although the federal government no longer controls welfare benefits, it continues to provide help through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. This organization stipulates that recipients of welfare benefits must find work within the first two years after receiving aid. Also, there is a minimum number of working hours required each week in order to receive some assistance.
Once an application for welfare benefits has been made, an interview is set up with the local district welfare office. Per the Neighborhood Legal Services Association, a case worker is assigned to go over the case and prepares for the interview stage. Welfare offices are required to respond within a specific time frame, usually thirty days, as to the outcome of the application.