Help for Single Mothers in TENNESSEE

Tennessee, TN

With the current economic downturn, many families have succumbed to the pressures and fallen below the poverty line. The state of Tennessee stepped in with programs that specifically target the needs of single mother families who are struggling even at the best of times.

Tennessee Families First #

Families First is Tennessee’s welfare program that provides temporary cash benefits to eligible low-income families with children.

These benefits will be limited to 60 months of eligibility in a lifetime, with some exceptions for the elderly, disabled persons, and children under age 18.

If you need short-term help rather than long-term ongoing cash assistance, you may request for one lump-sum payment through the Families First Diversion Payments.

How do I apply for Family First in TN?

You may apply for Families First benefits at your local DHS county office or call the Family Assistance Service Center at 1-866-311-4287.

Tennessee Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) #

Tennessee SNAP provides nutritional assistance benefits to eligible Tennesseans. The aim is to serve as a safety net for low-income families struggling with hunger.

In Tennessee, most families with gross income up to 130% of the federal poverty level, about $2,693 a month for a family of three, qualify for SNAP.

Family Size 100% 130%
1 $1,215 $1,579
2 $1,643 $2,137
3 $2,072 $2,693
4 $2,500 $3,250
5 $2,928 $3,807
6 $3,357 $4,363
7 $3,785 $4,921
8 $4,213 $5,478

Gross income limit applies to most households, except those in which at least one person is 60 years of age or older, or receives disability income.

How do I apply for food stamps in TN?

To apply for benefits, submit your application online through One DHS Customer Portal or in person at the local DHS county office.

If you are eligible, an EBT account is set up for you, and every month your benefits will be deposited right into your account.

Tennessee to Reinstate Work Requirement for SNAP

Beginning February 1, 2018, able-bodied adults without dependents in most counties will have to put in at least 20 hours per week on a job in order to get SNAP benefits. That requirement was waived in 2008 amid the Great Recession.

Tennessee Special Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) #

Tennessee WIC provides supplemental nutritious foods, nutritious education, health care referrals, and breastfeeding support to women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk.

Participants must be a resident of the state of Tennessee, meet WIC income guidelines and be individually determined to be at nutritional or medical risk by a health professional.

What is the income limit for WIC in Tennessee?

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $2,248
  • 2 $3,040
  • 3 $3,833
  • 4 $4,625
  • 5 $5,418
  • 6 $6,210
  • 7 $7,003
  • 8 $7,795

If eligible, WIC food benefits are issued into an electronic benefit account, known as TNWIC, in lieu of paper vouchers which can be used at any one of the 800+ participating grocery stores in Tennessee.

How do I apply for WIC in TN?

Call your local county health department to make an appointment for an interview. For appointments in Shelby County, call 901-222-9980.

Tennessee TennCare #

TennCare is the State of Tennessee’s Medicaid program that helps low-income individuals and families with children pay for some or all of their medical bills, including pregnant women and single parents who meet the income eligibility requirements.

Eligible participants will receive free medical services such as doctors’ services, dental care, eyeglasses, home care, hospital care, and many other health-related services.

Tennessee is one of the three non-expansion states that covers parents with incomes at or near poverty. The others are Georgia and Wisconsin. Both offers coverage to parents and adults with incomes up to the poverty threshold.

What is the income limit for TennCare in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, only parents with incomes up to 82% of the poverty threshold, about $20,390 per year for a family of three, may qualify for TennCare.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $11,960
  • 2 $16,170
  • 3 $20,390
  • 4 $24,600
  • 5 $28,810
  • 6 $33,030
  • 7 $37,240
  • 8 $41,460

A 5% disregard based on the federal poverty level (FPL) for the household size is applied and is reflected in the amounts shown above.

How do I get Medicaid in Tennessee?

Go to TennCare Connect to apply online or call 855-259-0701 to apply over the phone. Paper application is also available in both English and Spanish.

Tennessee CoverKids #

CoverKids is Tennessee Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that is funded by both the state and the federal government. It covers uninsured children age 18 and younger and the unborn children of women who are not eligible for Medicaid.

In order to qualify, families must earn less than 255% of the federal poverty level or about $63,390 a year for a family of three and meet other eligibility criteria.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $37,180
  • 2 $50,290
  • 3 $63,390
  • 4 $76,500
  • 5 $89,610
  • 6 $102,710
  • 7 $115,820
  • 8 $128,930

A 5% disregard based on the federal poverty level (FPL) for the household size is applied and is reflected in the amounts shown above.

In addition to children’s coverage, pregnant women whose income is too high for TennCare may also receive maternity coverage through CoverKids.

Katie Beckett is a new program to help Tennesseans under the age of 18 with disabilities and/or complex medical needs who would not usually qualify for TennCare.

How do I apply for Katie Beckett in Tennessee?

To apply, go to TeenCare Connect and create an account if you don't already have. Be sure to click “YES” when it asks if you want to apply for Katie Beckett.

Tennessee Child Care Certificate Program #

Parents participating in the Families First program who need help paying for child care may receive financial assistance with the full cost of child care. No co-pay is required.

In general, Tennessee is not providing child care assistance to any families or children unless they were families already receiving Families First, the state’s TANF program.

What is the income limit for child care assistance in Tennessee?

Eligibility is based on Families First income guidelines. In general, parents whose income not exceeding 85% of the State Median Income (SMI) may qualify. For example, income eligibility limit for a family of three is at or below $5,885 a month.

How do I apply for child care assistance in Tennessee?

To apply for the service, contact your local DHS office to get an appointment for an eligibility interview or apply online through the One DHS Customer Portal.

Once approved for child care payment assistance, the family may choose the type of care their best meets their needs.

One DHS Contact Center

Tennessee Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) #

Tennessee LIHEAP assist eligible low-income households in meeting the costs of home heating during winter and cooling during summer. LIHEAP prioritizes families with the lowest income that pay a high proportion of their income for home energy.

Income eligible households are those at or below 60% of the State Median Income (SMI). Use the chart of household income limits to see if you are eligible.

Applications are accepted year-round based on availability of funds. Eligible households may receive a one-time credit of up to $1,500, as long as funding is available.

How do I apply for LIHEAP in Tennessee?

Tennessee LIHEAP is administered through a network of 19 local agencies that reach all 95 counties. Application, along with all necessary verification, must be submitted through the designated LIHEAP agency in your area.

Tennessee Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) #

Tennessee LIHWAP is designed to assist eligible low income households in meeting their immediate water and wastewater needs, in the form of a one-time payment.

In order to qualify for LIHWAP, households must have an income equal to or less than 60% of the State Median Income (SMI). Priority will be given to households that have been disconnected or are at risk of being disconnected.

If you qualify for the program, you will receive a credit of up to $250 as long as you owe at least $10 on your water bill. If your bill exceeds this amount, you may be credited for larger amount.

How do I get help with my water bill in Tennessee?

If you are in danger of falling behind on your water bills and need help, you may submit your application, along with all necessary verifications, through the designated LIHWAP agency that serves your area.

Tennessee Unemployment Insurance #

Tennessee Unemployment Insurance provides temporary jobless benefits to eligible workers who lost their job through no fault of their own. The benefits are intended to partially offset the loss of wages, while they are looking for a new job.

Tennessee claimants receive their benefits via the Tennessee Automated Payment (TAP) debit card or direct deposit. The minimum benefit for those who qualify is $30, up to a maximum of $275 per week.

How do I file my weekly unemployment claim in Tennessee?

You can apply for UI benefits either online or by phone by calling one of the following phone numbers listed below:

  • Nashville (615) 532-1800
  • Other Tennessee Areas (800) 689-9799
  • Out-of-State Claimant (800) 262-8094

If you are filing your weekly claim, you must answer a few certification questions online about the past week's job search and earnings.

Tennessee Student Assistance Award (TSAA) #

Tennessee Student Assistance Award is a state-funded grant program that provides non-repayable financial aid to needy undergraduate students who are enrolled at a public or an eligible non-public postsecondary institution in Tennessee.

Eligibility is based on Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $3,500 or less. Grant amounts vary from $1,000 to $4,000 and are awarded to the neediest applicants on a first come, first served basis.

To receive priority consideration, you are strongly encouraged to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after October 1 each year.

Tennessee Promise Scholarship #

High school seniors in Tennessee may apply for the Tennessee Promise Scholarship, which will provide two years of free tuition attendance at any of Tennessee's 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology.

The amount of scholarship will depend on the number of credit hours in which a student is enrolled and whether the student has other federal and/or state aid eligibility.

Tennessee Promise is a last-dollar scholarship, meaning it will cover the cost of tuition and mandatory fees once all other aid, with the exception of federal loans and work-study, has been applied.

How do I apply for TN Promise Scholarship?

As part of the application process, you must complete the Tennessee Promise Scholarship application in the TSAC Student Portal by November 1 and the FAFSA by March 1.

Tennessee Reconnect #

Tennessee Reconnect provides the same last-dollar benefits as Tennessee Promise, but for adults over age 24 to attend a community college tuition-free.

Students must be admitted to an eligible institution and be enrolled at least part time and must complete the FAFSA as an independent student.

Adults who meet all the requirements will receive a last-dollar scholarship, which is equal to the difference between tuition and fees and any gift aid (grants and scholarships) that the student receives.

To be considered for eligibility, students must complete the FAFSA and TN Reconnect Scholarship applications by the deadline date.

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