Apply for TANF in Tennessee.

How to get TANF in Tennessee 

The Tennessee TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) program is designed to help families who are experiencing tremendous financial hardship by granting cash assistance for a temporary time. These cash awards create a temporal safe haven which allows families to meet their financial obligations such as bills, loans, and various other payments that they may have. TANF money comes from the United States government and each state is delegated to distribute the funds under their own system. In Tennessee, the funds are managed by the DHS (Department of Human Services). The Tennessee DHS is the agency that dispenses the TANF benefits and is also the agency that processes and reviews the applications.

There are vigorous and strict regulations that are required for all applicants to meet in order to be approved for the benefit program. Every applicant is required to be a citizen of the United States, be in poverty, have assets (such as vehicles) that are under a specified value, have extremely low or no income, felony free, and must have not exhausted the time limitations placed on the benefit. The time limitations are in place to ensure that a person will not use the TANF program for a lifetime of free income. Exemptions to the limitation regulations include those who have children, a disability, or are in the direct care of the elderly.

Apply for TANF in Tennessee

The Tennessee DHS requires that all applicants complete and application form. Any person wishing to apply for the benefits can visit a DHS office near them to acquire a paper application form. It is suggested that all applicants gather identification and financial documentation prior to beginning the application form. These documents include their bills, mortgage information (or rent), pay stubs, birth certificates, and bank statements. These pieces of information will assist the applicant in completing the application in a timely manner.

All applicants need to complete the form legibly and accurately so that the Tennessee DHS agents can process the information in a timely manner. The information provided will determine if the applicant is approved for benefits, and also will determine the amount of cash awards for the benefits. Since the benefits are based on a scale that measures the income level, financial assets, and amount of people who need the benefits in the home, sometimes people decide to falsify information in order to get a greater benefits amount. This is considered fraud and is a crime in the States of Tennessee. General spelling errors, common errors, and math errors are not treated this way but can delay processing time. Prosecutions sometimes result in purposeful deceit on the application or reception of benefits through a fraudulent application (Such as adding 3 children that do not exist). Accuracy and truthfulness on the application will also speed up the processing time overall.

Tennessee TANF Interview and TANF Card

When the Tennessee TANF application is finally completed and submitted to the DHS, it will go under a review process to check if the applicant is within the financial range to receive the benefits. If the applicant is within this range, they will be assigned and interview time where the DHS agents will ask them to bring in their financial information and identification information. At this interview, usually only a review of the application is completed with the applicant. Sometimes there may be more information that the DHS will need to gather from the applicant to approve them for TANF benefits.

Once approved, the new recipient will receive an EBT card in the mail. The card will allow the applicant to make debit purchases, cash withdraws, and pay bills wherever the EBT card is accepted. The EBT carded will be loaded with the cash benefits at an assigned date by the Tennessee DHS. When the benefits are fully exhausted off the card, the recipient will have to wait until their assigned date in order for the card to be reloaded with more money.

Remember at this time that there are a lot of families seeking how to get TANF in Tennessee. There may be long lines at the DHS. Please remember to arrive early and you may want to consider having a sitter for young children. All DHS agents are working hard to process many applications and are striving hard to process your application as quickly as possible. Patience from applicants is appreciated! The TANF program is federal funds, regulated by the Tennessee DHS.

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