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Louisiana Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP): What You Need to Know

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It is always in your best interest to speak with an attorney about your case. If you cannot afford an attorney, a legal aid organization may be able to represent you for free or at reduced cost. However, certain restrictions apply and they may not be able to take your case. You may also qualify for reduced-cost legal services through the LSBA's Modest Means Directory. You also have a right to represent yourself, and there are diverse services available to help you learn more.

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In Louisiana, the general rule is that you cannot get more than 24 months of FITAP payments in a 60 month (5 year) period.  In Louisiana, you also have a lifetime limit of 60 months (5 years, total).  There are exceptions to both limits.  You can find more information on time limits at LouisianaLawHelp.org.

The graph shows how much assistance a family receives based on family size.

Number of Persons          FITAP Flat Grant Amounts
1         $122
2         $188
3         $240
4         $284
5         $327
6         $366
7         $402
8         $441
9         $477
10           $512

 

For more information, visit the Department of Children and Family Services's FITAP page.

Am I eligible for FITAP?

To be eligible for FITAP, the family must meet all the conditions listed below:

Residence - the client must be living in the state, must intend to make a home here and the stay cannot be temporary.

Citizenship - the client must be either a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

Need - a family must be considered financially needy to be eligible. It is not required that a parent be incapacitated, absent or unemployed.

Enumeration - all applicants or recipients must provide or apply for a Social Security number for each member of the family.

Age - children must be under the age of 18 to be eligible or in school and able to complete the course of study or obtain a GED by the 19th birthday.

Relationship - in order to receive FITAP assistance for a child, an individual must be related by blood, marriage or adoption.

Home - it must be verified that the child actually lives in the same home with the qualified relative.

Support Enforcement Services  - the client must give to the state any child support and medical support rights, and must cooperate with the state's Support Enforcement Services in establishing paternity and obtaining child support and medical support from the absent parent(s), unless good cause has been established.     

STEP - work eligible applicants and recipients are required to participate in the STEP Program.     

Income - monthly countable income, both earned and unearned, cannot exceed the flat grant amount for the number of persons in the family. Total countable income is subtracted from the flat grant amount to determine grant amount. The allowable earned income deductions are:        

  • Standard earned income deduction of $120 for each employed family member.  
  • Time limited deduction of $900 for six months for each employed family member.

Immunization - sufficient evidence of immunity or immunization against vaccine preventable diseases according to the Office of Public Health schedule, or evidence that such an immunization program is in progress, must be provided for each recipient under the age of 18.

Parenting Skills Training- each applicant/recipient who is pregnant or has a child under the age one must attend parenting skills training.

Time Limits - the family is ineligible to receive assistance if a parent or either parent in a two-parent family has received benefits for 24 of the prior 60 months. There is a 60 month lifetime limit if the assistance unit includes a parent/caretaker relative.

Minor parent restriction - minor unmarried parents and their children must reside in the home of a parent, legal guardian, other adult relative or in an adult-supervised living arrangement in order to qualify for assistance.

Drug screening - Applicants/recipients age 18 and over must cooperate in screening for the use of illegal drugs, and, if necessary, drug testing, education and rehabilitation.

For more information, visit the Department of Children and Family Services's FITAP page.

LEAP

The Legal Education and Assistance Program (LEAP) is a project sponsored by the Louisiana State Bar Association, with the support of the Louisiana Library Association, the Law Library of Louisiana, LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, and Acadiana Legal Services. LEAP aims to provide support and assistance to public librarians throughout the state by providing them with the tools to help their patrons with their legal questions. LEAP understands that librarians are prohibited from providing legal advice, but instead helps them provide legal information, including referrals to attorneys.