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OK Plan for TANF Restrictions

TANF Recipient Notifications and Penalties


As part of the compliance plan, OKDHS Adult and Family Services:

  • Sent a special notice to TANF recipients on January 22, 2014 informing them it is illegal to use the TANF benefit on their Oklahoma debit MasterCard in the prohibited locations and if they do so, they may be subject to penalties (6,440 letters sent);
  • Is modifying the certification notice sent to TANF applicants upon approval for TANF benefits to include the warning not to use TANF funds in prohibited business locations;
  • Is modifying the comprehensive benefit application to include the following statement:  "I understand that I may not use my cash benefit card at any liquor store, gambling casino or gaming establishment, or retail establishment which provides adult-oriented entertainment in which performers disrobe or perform in an unclothed state or whose principal business is that of selling cigarettes, cigar, or tobacco products;" 
  • Is placing posters in OKDHS county office lobbies informing everyone of the prohibition; and
  • Is requesting Xerox add information about the prohibition to the information they send clients when new or replacement debit MasterCards are issued.

In 2014, the Oklahoma Legislature passed an amendment to the law which imposes penalties if a client uses the debit card containing TANF benefits in a prohibited location.  Those penalties are as follows:

  • 25 percent reduction in TANF cash assistance for three months for the first violation, 
  • 35 percent reduction for six months for a second violation, 
  • 50 percent reduction for 12 months for a third violation, and;
  • Removal of the adult from the TANF benefit for a fourth or subsequent violation.

The law went into effect November 1, 2014.   OKDHS is implementing TANF rule changes to include these penalties. Clients will receive notice of adverse action before case closure informing them of their legal right to an appeal of the penalty and the procedure to request the appeal. 

Last Modified on May 11, 2021