Program DescriptionThe Tennessee Food Stamp program, financed 100 percent by Federal funds and administered by the Department of Human Services, provides nutritional assistance benefits to children and families, the elderly, the disabled, unemployed and working families. Its importance as a safety net cannot be overemphasized because it provides a mechanism for stretching food dollars for those families and individuals with insufficient income or resources to meet all of their needs. Since the nationwide implementation of the Food Stamp program in 1964, malnutrition has been virtually eliminated; however, hunger and food insecurity continues to exist at unacceptable levels in every state. As a result, a national campaign to end hunger has been initiated by USDA's Food and Nutrition Services. For Tennessee and other states in the southeast region, a goal has been set to eliminate hunger by 2005.
To receive food stamp benefits, you must first apply for benefits and participate in an interview with DHS staff. If eligible, you will receive a Benefit Security Card or EBT Card, which allows food stamp benefits to be issued and accessed electronically.
Applying for benefits is just the first step. You will need to work with your local DHS office to confirm your eligibility.
General Program RequirementsIn order to qualify for this benefit program, you must be a resident of the State of Tennessee and fall into one of two groups: (1) those with a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,001, or (2) those with a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $3,001 who share their household with a person or persons age 60 and over, or with a person with a disability (a child, your spouse, a parent, or yourself). For either group, you must also have an annual household income of less than $14,079 if one person lives in the household; $18,941 if two people live in the household; $23,803 if three people live in the household; $28,665 if four people live in the household; $33,527 if five people live in the household; $38,389 if six people live in the household; $43,251 if seven people live in the household; or $48,113 if eight people live in the household. For larger households, add $4,862 for each additional person in the home.
Your Next StepsThe following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.
Application ProcessTo apply for benefits, contact your local Department of Human Services office. A map and information on these offices is available on our website at:
Program Contact Information
For more information about this program, please visit: http://tennessee.gov/humanserv/adfam/afs_fsp.html
You may contact the Family Assistance Help-Line with questions at: 888-863-6187 or 615-313-5790 for Nashville.