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Colorado delivers more than $13.5 million to families in need

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DENVER (Oct. 15, 2021) — The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) recently distributed more than $13.5 million in cash benefits to families in need through funds provided by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). 

Colorado received $13,502,982 from the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund (PEAF) authorized in ARPA. CDHS used these funds to provide one-time additional cash assistance to households receiving Basic Cash Assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, also known as Colorado Works. Funds were awarded to states in April 2021 and CDHS moved quickly to prioritize payments to families in August 2021.

In total, 11,424 households received a payment of $1,181.98. The one-time cash payments are essential to help families with low income pay for housing, utilities, food, clothing and other basic expenses. These funds are providing extra relief to the most vulnerable households in Colorado, who the public health emergency severely impacted. Eligibility for TANF requires a child in the household and income less than 23 percent of the federal poverty level. A family with one adult and two children must have income under $421 a month to qualify for help.

“This was a one-time payment aimed to keep families in their homes with food on their tables,” said Ian McMahon, director of the Employment and Benefits Division at CDHS, which oversees the Colorado Works program. “These additional funds provided crucial relief to the Colorado families most in need.”

TANF, which succeeded the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program in 1996, recently marked its 25th anniversary and operates in all 64 counties in Colorado. During state fiscal year 2020-21, more than 26,000 families received more than $97 million in cash assistance through the Colorado Works program. Between state fiscal years 2018-19 and 2020-21, Colorado Works distributed $309.8 million in cash assistance to Colorado families in need.

To apply for Colorado Works, go to the PEAK Colorado website at Find more information at

 The CDHS Employment and Benefits Division (EBD) encompasses a variety of programs designed to support Coloradans on their paths out of poverty. Programs provide tools, training, technical assistance, technological support, and resources to support county departments and community partners serving customers.

Media contact:
Madlynn Ruble
Deputy Director of Communications