Apply for the Temporary Cash Assistance Diversion Program

If you’re eligible for cash assistance and you’re looking for a short-term solution to help pay your bills, the Diversion Program may be a good choice for you. 


The PA Department of Human Services (DHS) is dedicated to helping low-income families become more financially independent.

The Diversion Program is a way for families to choose short-term help rather than ongoing cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

This help comes in the form of a one-time lump sum payment. The payment depends on your need, with the maximum payment equaling three times your Family Size Allowance (FSA). You can only receive a Diversion payment once in a 12-month period.

If you qualify for a Diversion payment, your family should not need additional TANF benefits. 


To receive Diversion Program benefits, you must meet eligibility requirements for both the TANF and Diversion Programs.

When you apply for cash assistance, the county assistance office (CAO) will consider you and your family for the Diversion Program if:

  • You meet all TANF non-financial and income/resource requirements in the month of your application or the following month;
  • You are employed or have received earned income within the 90 days prior to application;
  • You have verified financial need(s). (A one-time Diversion payment of either one, two or three months of the FSA must cover all your short-term needs until your income starts again.); and,
  • You expect income that will support your family and will arrive within three months.

Before the county assistance office decides if you are eligible for a Diversion payment, your caseworker will look at other services and benefits to help support your family such as Emergency Shelter Allowance (ESA), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or home heating assistance through LIHEAP. These services and benefits may be able to cover part of your short-term need and make it possible for a Diversion payment to cover the rest bills.

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Apply Online

Complete an online application for cash benefits at COMPASS

Apply Online

Apply In Person

Fill out an application, ask questions, and get more information at your local CAO.

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Apply by Mail- English PDF

Download, complete, and return an application to your local CAO. 

Download the English PDF

Apply by Mail- Spanish PDF

Download, complete, and return an application to your local CAO. 

Download the Spanish PDF


Contact Your County Assistance Office (CAO)

For questions or additional information contact your local County Assistance Office (CAO).

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