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.

To be eligible for the program, you must sign a Personal Responsibility Plan (PRP) which among other things, you must agree to:

  1. work or participate in work-related activities for 30 hours a week, unless exempt;
  2. cooperate with child support requirements;
  3. ensure that your children stay in school and receive regular health checks and immunization shots.

FAQ #


Do I qualify for Families First? #

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In order to qualify for Families First, you must:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen or legal alien, or permanent resident who live in Tennessee
  2. Be either pregnant, disabled, elderly, or uninsurable
  3. Be responsible for a child under 19 years of age
  4. Be unemployed or under employed (working for very low wages)
  5. Agree to work or attend work preparation activity, if not exempt

How much is TANF in Tennessee? #

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How much money you get for TANF in Tennessee largely depends upon your family’s income and size. Tennessee pays a maximum of $277 a month to a family of three, which is among the lowest in the nation.

How do I sign up for Families First? #

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Tennesseans may apply for Families First benefits at the local Department of Human Services county office. Click here for a list of county offices locations and phone numbers for which to submit your application, or

Apply online via
Family Assistance (FA) Online Application

Families First cash assistance benefits are issued and accessed electronically using a Benefit Security Card or EBT Card which can be used wherever EBT is accepted.


How do I get emergency cash assistance in TN? #

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If you have lost a job or lost at least 50% of your earned income due to the COVID-19, you may apply for Emergency Cash Assistance.

You may apply online and provide a layoff notice or proof of receiving reduced hours due to COVID-19 as part of the application. To check the status of your application, call (866) 311-4287.