Governmental safety-net programs are designed for individuals and families who are having trouble getting health care and food. They can help replace lost income. Below you will find information and links to apply for some of these state programs.
I am uninsured and need to get healthcare insurance…
- To see if you can get public health benefits like TennCare, CoverKids or Medicare Savings Programs. Visit the “Public Health Benefits” tab on the left side of this page.
- To see if you can get help paying for health insurance premiums offered by healthcare.gov, visit the “Public Health Benefits” tab on the left side of this page.
I need to get food for myself and my family…
You may be able to get on the or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It used to be known as food stamps. Go to the “Food Resources” tab on the left side of this page for more information.
I need help paying my living expenses…
You may be able to get Families First.
- This program provides temporary cash assistance, transportation, child care assistance, educational supports, job training, employment activities, and other support services. Like SNAP benefits, you can start a Family Assistance application online. Click here. Click the “Create DHS Account” link on the page.
You may be eligible for state and federal unemployment payments.
- Did you recently lose your job? you may be able to get unemployment benefits. Click on the link below:
- General Information about the Unemployment Insurance Program, or to file a claim click here.
- Supplemental Unemployment Benefits – the American Rescue Plan Act extends Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) through July 3, 2021. The FPUC benefit amount is $300/week.
- Tax benefit – $10,200 in 2020 unemployment benefits is NOT subject to federal income tax if your household earns less than $150,000 per year.
You may be eligible to receive money directly from the federal government.
- To see if you qualify and how much you can get, visit the “Economic Impact Payment” tab on the left side of this page.
- Do you have children under the age or 18 living in your home? See the “Resources for Families with Children” tab on the left side of this page.
I am being evicted from my home OR my utilities are being shut off…
These are several programs designed to help. Please see the “Rent, Mortgage and Utility Help” tab on the left side of this page.
2021 Child Tax Credit
Why You Need to File Taxes
You may get money from the federal government even if you don’t have to file taxes or don’t have any income.
Do you have a child under the age of 18 living with you?
If YES, you may get money in the form of a tax credit:
- Is your adjusted gross income is below $75,000 for individuals or $150,000 for married couples filing jointly?
- You could get up to $3,000 per child for kids between the ages of 6 and 17 (up to the child’s 18th birthday).
- You could get up to $3,600 per child for kids under the age of 6.
- Want to see if you can get this money and how much you will get? Use the IRS Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant, by clicking here.
This tax credit is fully refundable. This means you can get a payment from the federal government even if you don’t have any income or don’t make enough to file taxes. Do you owe taxes? The credit will be applied to what you owe first. Any amount left over will be deposited in your bank account. A check will be mailed to you if you don’t have a bank account.
Did you get an advance child tax credit payment after July of 2021?
These payments were made monthly from July to December 2021. The payment you received was equal to half of the total credit. To get the other half, you MUST file a 2021 income tax return. That means, you need to file a tax return. To get this money, you must file a tax return even if you don’t have to.
If you didn’t get a payment but should have. You can still claim the full payment amount by filing a tax return. Keep reading if you don’t know how to file a tax return.
Need free help filing your taxes?
Taxpayers can get FREE tax help from the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. They have volunteers trained in the tax law that can help you. See below to see if you can get free help.
- make $58,000 or less, or
- have disabilities, or
- are elderly, or
- don’t speak English very well.
You may be able to find help at neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, and shopping malls. To find a site near you, call 1-800-906-9887 or click here.
Is the Child Tax Credit Taxable?
Will the Child Tax Credit stop me from getting other benefits that I receive like TennCare or SNAP (food stamps)?
No. Under federal law, the Child Tax Credit cannot be counted as income.
- It will not change how much you or members of your family get.
- It will not count as a resource for government programs for at least 12 months after you receive it.
Will the IRS contact me about the Child Tax Credit?
- Maybe. Did you file taxes in 2019 or 2020? You should have received a letter from the IRS about the payment you will be getting.
- The IRS will always mail you a letter first. The IRS does NOT contact you by email, text message or social media to request personal or financial information.
- Watch out for emails with attachments or links claiming to have special information about your Child Tax Credit. THEY ARE NOT FROM THE IRS. DON’T OPEN THE ATTACHMENT. DON’T CLICK ON THE LINKS.
Do you have questions about the Child Tax Credit?
Give us a call toll-free at 1-877-608-1009.
I need help paying my mortgage
The federal government has created the Housing Assistance Fund (HAF) to help homeowners pay their mortgage because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is to help with bills you got after January 21, 2020.
- You can use HAF funds to pay mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance, utility payments, and other specified purposes.
- For more information on the program and how to apply, click here.
I need help paying my utilities
The federal government created the Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance program to help you pay rent or utilities. Each state runs its own program with money from the federal government.
- Want to know more about the Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Program? Click here.
- For help applying for rental relief in Tennessee, click here.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps families with energy and utility cost. The program will help provide federally funded assistance to be used for the cost of home utility bills, utility crisis, and even utility-related minor home repairs. LIHEAP can help you stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. To find out where you can apply for LIHEAP Assistance, please click here or view the information below:
Mr. Blake Worthington
Housing Program Manager-Energy
Tennessee Housing Development Agency
502 Deaderick Street, Third Floor
Nashville, Tennessee 37243
- TEL: (615) 815-2042
- FAX: (615) 564-1292
- E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
- WEBSITE: https://thda.org/business-partners/liheap (Visit disclaimer page)
- PUBLIC INQUIRIES: (615) 815-2030
Electric bill help from NeedLink
Due to the financial impact of COVID-19 on the residents of Nashville, NeedLink understands that there is currently a great need for assistance with basic living costs such as your electric bill. The assistance that you are applying for is being offered to meet the needs of Nashville residents that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
NeedLink Nashville is only able to assist with past due balances. Please wait until you have received a past due bill to apply. If your balance is current, your application will be denied, and you will be instructed to apply again once you have received a past due bill.
To apply for assistance, please go the NeedLink website and fill out their application here.
I need help paying my rent
- This includes help with
- Paying living expenses (rent, mortgage, utilities)
- Getting financial counseling
- Getting food
- Internet and phone access
- Filing for unemployment
- Filing taxes
- Getting childcare
- This may include:
- Getting your landlord to agree to lower rent payment for a certain number of months; OR
- Using money from the federal government to pay part of your missed rent payments.
- How to Apply:
- You can apply online here. The application is in English and Spanish.
- To get help applying or to check on your application dial 211.
- Things you will need:
- Proof that you lost your job or had your hours at work cut due to the pandemic;
- A list of your missed rent payments.
Please do not take out a loan to pay your rent before applying for help.
Housing – Do you pay rent? Other important information…
Landlords may be able to apply for emergency rental help for you, but you must give them permission to apply for your missed rent payments for you.
- Tell your landlord that you have applied for rental help. You can’t be evicted by your landlord if you applied for any of the emergency relief programs. Landlords who do can be penalized and prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.
- You can’t be evicted while emergency rental payments are being made on your behalf.
- Live in federally assisted housing? You may still get emergency rental assistance help.
Ask your landlord. They may be able to help…
- There are tools for landlords to help tenants who have been impacted by Covid-19. Just click here. For more information on rental assistance, click here.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit program helps low income consumers afford essential internet service.
- You may be able to get up to $50 a month to help pay for high-speed internet. Check with your internet provider for details.
- For a listing of internet partners in Tennessee, click here.
COVID-19 food resource for individuals and families. See below for more information about getting food through School Meals, WIC and SNAP.
Food for Pregnant or Post-Partum Women, Infants and Children under 5
WIC provides nutritious supplemental foods, health care referrals and nutrition education. If you are pregnant, recently given birth, or care for an infants or children under 5 you might be eligible for WIC.
- Due to COVID-19, applications are being taken over the phone.
Food for Individuals or Household – SNAP/Food Stamps
- You may be eligible to apply for SNAP.
- Due to COVID-19, SNAP offices are encouraging individuals to apply online here.
- Local offices will have employees available to respond to questions or applications via telephone. Customers can find the number to their local office by going on online here.
- If you are between the ages of 18-49 and have lost SNAP because of the 3-month time limit rule, you may be eligible. The SNAP 3-month time limit has been removed.
- If you need application assistance, please locate someone who can help:
TN Commission on Aging/Disability: Lacey Aviles, Aging Nutrition Coordinator
Contact: 615-253-4161 | Lacey.email@example.com
Second Harvest Middle TN: Kate Pearce, SNAP Coordinator
Contact: 615-782-2071 | Kate.firstname.lastname@example.org
Second Harvest Northeast TN: Alecia Holder, SNAP Outreach Coordinator
Contact: 423-279-0430 ext.216 | email@example.com
West TN Legal Services: Beth Bates, SNAP Project Director
Contact: 731-426-1313 | Beth@wtls.org
Chattanooga Food Bank: Letisia Garcia-Sanchez, SNAP Outreach Coordinator
Contact: 706-330-4562 | Lsanchez@chattfoodbank.org
Knoxville-Knox County CAC: Alice Allen, SNAP Coordinator
Contact: 865-524-2786 | Alice.firstname.lastname@example.org
MidSouth Food Bank (Memphis): Nakilla Jones, SNAP Coordinator
Contact: 901-373–408 | Njones@midsouthfoodbank.org
Univ. Of Memphis: Alison Brown, Student Outreach & Support
Contact: 901-678-3594 | Mbrown37@memphis.edu
United Way Metro Nashville: Tracey Dill, Director of Community Impact
Contact: 615-780-2461 or Dial 2-1-1 | Tracey.email@example.com
Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)
Families of children who receive free or reduced price school meals or attend a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools may now receive P-EBT benefits to help alleviate missed school meals when children are not in school or are participating in virtual learning because of COVID-19.
P-EBT now offers more money for families to buy groceries
P-EBT benefits will now provide parents with $6.82 per child for each day that school was closed due to COVID-19. Tennessee’s P-EBT program has been approved by the USDA to provide benefits for school meals missed from October through the 2021 school year. New cards for this round of benefits have been delayed, but some cards are being mailed out now. Once you receive your card in the mail, keep it. Benefits will continue to be loaded monthly for qualified families.
Meals received from an emergency site or school during the pandemic will not disqualify individuals from participating in P-EBT benefits.
I need COVID-19 related information about Tennessee’s nutrition safety net programs…
The TJC Nutrition Team have created COVID-19 resource pages for partners who want to know more and take action to ensure Tennesseans are fed during the pandemic. See below for more information on changes to SNAP, WIC and the Child Nutrition Programs. Learn what additional steps are needed to expand the programs to reach Tennesseans who struggle to put food on the table as a result of the pandemic.
I need information about SNAP updates…
The COVID-19 pandemic presents a duel threat to public health and the American economy. This has already created significant challenges for Tennesseans who live in food-insecure households and for others who are on the brink of poverty, which is the root cause of hunger. Social distancing, decreased work opportunities, and school and child care closures are exacerbating the struggles of families that were already wondering how they would put their next meal on the table, and do not have the resources to stockpile food during this crisis. Click here for more program updates and resources.
I need information about WIC updates…
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to preserve access to the Tennessee Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) which provides healthy food, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and social service referrals to low-income families with young children.
I need information about school and summer meals…
I lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to school closures…
The Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program provides households with children who have lost access to free or reduced-price school meals as a result of school closures an EBT card with the value of the free school breakfast and lunch loaded onto it.
Eligible households include those whose children are certified to receive free or reduced-price school meals and children who attend schools that offer free school meals to all students, known as Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools.
P-EBT was authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and was extended to operate through September 2021. For the most up-to-date information about P-EBT, sign up for our alerts. For additional information on the P-EBT program, click here.
Tennessee has approval from USDA to issue P-EBT benefits through the 2021 school year…
If you or someone you know has issues accessing P-EBT, please email Signe Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources & Support to Promote Food Security
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a Coronavirus Self-Checker to help you make decisions and seek appropriate medical care. You can access the CDC’s website here including the self-checker.
If you have health insurance like TennCare, CoverKids, Medicare or private health insurance…
- You can find a testing location based on county where you live by clicking here.
- You should seek treatment for the coronavirus from your doctor.
- If you don’t have a primary care doctor, you can find a list of clinics in your area here.
Telehealth services and telemedicine have been made permanent
Telehealth services and telemedicine allow your doctor to provide certain medical services (like diagnosing illnesses, providing treatment and prescribing medicine) to you using your home phone, cellphone or the internet. While telehealth and telemedicine have slightly different meanings, the Division of TennCare now allows doctors to use these services to provide treatment to you.
- It is up to your doctor to determine whether you must be seen in the office or whether telehealth or telemedicine is right for your care.
- Telehealth and telemedicine may be available if you need behavioral health services.
- You should check with your doctor to see if telehealth or telemedicine is right for you.
If you are currently on TennCare, you can find the most up to date telehealth coverage polices on your Managed Care Organization’s (MCO) website. You will find the name of your MCO on your TennCare card. To learn more go to your MCO’s website by clicking one of the links below:
- Amerigroup: https://providers.amerigroup.com/pages/TN-2012.aspx
- BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee: https://bcbstupdates.com/
- UnitedHealthcare: https://www.myuhc.com/member/prewelcome.do?currentLanguageFromPreCheck=en
EXCEPTIONS for physical therapy (PT), speech therapy (ST), and occupational therapy (OT). Telehealth coverage for PT, ST and OT have been extended until June 30, 2020 per Governor Lee’s executive order. Right now, we don’t know if Governor Lee will extend the end date. Please check back in the future for more information.
If you don’t have health insurance now, have you had TennCare, CoverKids or Supplemental Security Income also known as SSI in the past?
- If yes, we might be able to help you. Please complete the form below or call TJC at 615-255-0331 or 877-608-1009 Toll-Free.
- If no, visit the “Public Health Benefits” tab on the left side of this page to see if you may qualify for TennCare, CoverKids or other insurance affordability programs.
You can find information about the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in your county by clicking here.
Below you will find information about Tennessee Metropolitan Area Service updates:
- Nashville: https://www.asafenashville.org/
- Memphis: https://covid19.memphistn.gov/
- Knoxville: https://knoxvilletn.gov/government/mayors_office/c_o_v_i_d-19___coronavirus_
- Chattanooga: https://connect.chattanooga.gov/covid/
- Johnson City: https://www.johnsoncitytn.org/covid-19/
You may be able to get public health benefits like TennCare, CoverKids or Medicare Savings Programs, if you answer “yes” to any of the following questions…
- Do you care for any children under the age of 19 in your home?
- Are you pregnant?
- Are you under the age of 21?
- Has Social Security said you are “Disabled”?
- Are you on Medicare now?
- Do you need help with activities of daily living like eating, using the bathroom, communication, getting around in your home or the community?
If you answered YES…
…to any of these questions, apply for public health coverage on TennCare Connect. Click here.
- You can also apply by phone, fax or mail. We strongly recommend applying online due to the high volume of applications the state receives daily.
- We might be able to help if you apply and are denied. Please complete this form, or call the TJC at 615-255-0331 or 877-608-1009 Toll-Free.
If you answered NO…
…Do you believe your household income will be more than the income limits based on the chart below?
2021 Poverty Guidelines
- Is your household income likely to be greater than the income listed above? Go to www.healthcare.gov to see if you can get health insurance and get financial help paying your premiums.
- Call toll free 1-800-269-4038 if you need help applying on healthcare.gov.
- You may be in the Coverage Gap if your income is less than the limit above. You may be able to get free or reduced fee health care.
- To find a clinic near you click here.
- For help with medications click here.
- Would you like to share your story? Please complete our form here, and a member of our staff will contact you.
I am on TennCare and they won’t cover what my doctor has prescribed.
We may be able to help! If you have been denied benefits and believe you are eligible, please complete this form below or call us at 615-255-0331.
SPECIAL NOTE for pregnant immigrants without health insurance…
You can apply for CoverKids regardless of your immigration status. This means all pregnant immigrants can receive prenatal, labor and delivery and post-partum care provided they are Tennessee residents and meet certain income requirements.
- To apply for CoverKids, go to your local health department.
- To find your local health department click here.
- Some free and reduced fee health clinics may be able to help you apply for CoverKids as well.
- To find a clinic near you, click here.
Help for immigrants in general…
Usually, only United States citizens and certain lawfully-present non-citizens may receive public health benefits, food assistance, temporary cash payments to pay living expenses. To qualify for these programs, applicants must meet certain income and resource requirements. Depending on your immigration status, an additional waiting period may also apply.
- Children born in the United States may be eligible regardless of their parents’ immigration status.
I am uninsured and need to get healthcare insurance…
To see if you qualify for public health benefits like TennCare, CoverKids or Medicare Savings Programs as well as insurance affordability programs offered by healthcare.gov go to the “Public Health Benefits” tab on the left side of this page.
I need to get food for myself and my family…
To see if you are eligible to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits right away, click here. You may be eligible for SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. Click on the “Food Assistance” tab on the left side of this page to learn more.
I need help paying my living expenses…
- You may be eligible for Families First. This program provides temporary cash assistance, transportation, childcare assistance, educational supports, job training, employment activities, and other support services. Like SNAP benefits, you can start a Family Assistance online application by clicking here. Click the “Create DHS Account” link on the page.
- If you recently lost your job, you may be able to access unemployment benefits by clicking on the link below:
- General Information about the Unemployment Insurance Program or to file a claim click here.