Transitional Employment Assistance (TEA)

Updated February 2017   Fact Sheet PDF


The Transitional Employment Assistance (TEA) program helps needy families with children become more responsible for their own support and less dependent on public assistance. The purpose of the TEA program is to help needy families become economically self-sufficient by providing opportunities to obtain and retain employment sufficient to sustain the family. Central to this purpose is helping adults and minor parents reduce out-of-wedlock births and promoting family unity. Employment improves the quality of life for parents and children by increasing family income and assets and by improving self-esteem.


Benefits may include cash payments, childcare assistance, help with transportation, and other work-related expenses and medical services. Diversion Assistance is a one-time payment to a family to help them through a hard time so the parent can keep or accept a job. How much help you get is based on what your case manager determines you need to solve the problem. The payment is capped at a certain limit.


First TEA Interview

During your first interview, your case manager will review your application questions and ask you about your family’s circumstances. This will help determine what services your family needs and is eligible for.


Personal Responsibility Agreement

The Personal Responsibility Agreement is an agreement stating what you will have to do in order to get help. You must comply with Child Support Enforcement unless you have good cause. You must meet work requirements and certain responsibilities to your family.


You must make sure your school age child is going to school and that your preschooler receives their immunization shots. Your case manager will go over these responsibilities with you. If you fail to comply with these conditions, it may cause a decrease in or loss of your cash assistance payment.


Employment Plan

If you are approved for cash assistance, you and your case manager will develop an Employment Plan. The plan will outline steps that you and Department of Workforce Services will take to help you get and keep a job. You and your case manager will work as a team in developing this plan.


When you sign the plan, you are stating that you will follow the steps outlined in the plan. When your case manager signs, they are committing State resources that will help you get and keep a job.




A family who meets the eligibility requirements may get TEA cash payments for up to 24 months. The 24 months do not have to be in a row. If you are a grandparent getting benefits for your grandchildren, benefits will be available for a longer period of time. Your case manager can explain this more fully.


Application Process

Your TEA application will be processed no later than 30 days after the county office receives it. If you are eligible, your cash payments will begin within the month your application is approved.



To qualify, you must meet the following conditions.


You must have a child under 18 years old who is related to and living with you. The relationship and age must be verified by birth certificate or other documents.


You must have or apply for Social Security numbers for all family members.


Parents younger than 18 must live in their parent’s home or in an adult-supervised home, except under limited conditions. They also must attend high school or a Vo-Tech school or get a GED.


You must be a United States citizen or an alien lawfully admitted under certain criteria.


The family must currently live in Arkansas with the intent to stay in Arkansas.


You can receive help for up to 24 months. There is no time limit if you are seeking cash assistance for someone else’s children, such as a grandchild.


You can have some income, including earnings, and still be eligible to receive help. The family’s total countable income must be less the state’s standard.


Your Rights

  • to have your application processed timely
  • to be advised in writing of your work requirements
  • to be advised in writing of any changes in your benefit amount
  • to be treated courteously and with respect
  • to appeal any adverse action taken on your case and receive an Administrative Hearing


Your Responsibilities

  • to attend all interviews your case manager schedules for you
  • to fulfill all the requirements of your Personal Responsibility Agreement and Employment Plan
  • to contact your case manager within 10 days of any changes that affect your participation
  • to work toward achieving self-sufficiency before your time-limited assistance ends


Allowable Work Activities

TEA parents must pursue work activity described in their employment plans for a minimum number of hours per week.


Allowable activities include:

  • unsubsidized employment
  • subsidized employment (private or public)
  • micro-enterprise (self-employment)
  • on-the-job training
  • job search and job readiness
  • work experience
  • community service
  • career and technical education
  • providing childcare services for a community service participant
  • education directly related to employment
  • job skills training
  • attendance at secondary school

Your case manager will explain each activity and the participation requirements to you.


The state understands that it may take more than training, education, and counseling to help you find a job. It knows you may be worried about who will care for your children while you are engaged in TEA activities.


If needed, the state will pay for childcare and other expenses you may have when you go to work or engage in work-related activity.


If personal or family problems are keeping you from going to work, your case manager can help you solve your problems or refer you to an agency that may be able to help you.



If you fail to participate in your work activities, your TEA case manager will see if you are getting all the supportive services you need. If you have a poor reason for not participating, your cash payment may be reduced or case closed until you do participate.



Fraud means giving false information or withholding information for the purpose of getting help you are not entitled to under program rules and regulations.


Program Contact Information

For more information about TEA, please contact your local Workforce office or send a letter to:


Transitional Employment Assistance

Arkansas Department of Workforce Services

P.O. Box 2981

Little Rock, AR 72203


TTD/TTY Voice: 1-800-285-1121

TDD: 1-800-285-1131


This fact sheet is a collaboration of the Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc. These nonprofit organizations provide free legal assistance to eligible Arkansans who meet income, asset, and other guidelines. Legal assistance may also include advice and counsel, brief services, or full representation depending on the situation. For more information about civil legal aid in Arkansas, please visit For information specific to Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc., visit Apply for services online or by calling 1-800-9-LAW-AID (1-800-952-9243).
The information and statements of law in this fact sheet should not be considered legal advice. This fact sheet is provided as a broad guide to help you understand how certain legal matters are handled in general. Courts may interpret the law differently. Before you take action, talk to an attorney and follow his or her advice. Always do what the court tells you to do.
Content provided by: Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc.


How helpful do you find the information on this page?

Add comment