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.
Need free help filing your taxes?
Taxpayers can access Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). It is a free tax help to people who generally make $56,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need help filing their tax return. Find a VITA location here.
- Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, VITA services are being offered virtually. The United Way of Greater Nashville may be able to connect you to an IRS-certified preparer. Virtual VITA is not for everyone. To see if using Virtual VITA is right for you, click here.
The Legal Aid Society has a free Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic. The toll-free telephone number is 866-481-3669. If you live in the Memphis area (Shelby, Fayette, Tipton and Lauderdale counties), you should contact Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS). They also have a free Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic that you can call at 866-361-9001 (toll free).
Use the Non-Filer Sign-up Tool or Visit GetCTC.org
Have you filed taxes in 2019 or 2020?
If YES, you should NOT use the Non-Filer Sign-up Tool. The IRS already has the information that it needs.
If NO, the federal government has created a couple of tools to help you claim your tax credit.
- If you get on the internet using a mobile device like a phone, the easiest way to apply is to visit www.GetCTC.org.
- GetCTC.org was made so that people who don’t file taxes can use a smart phone, I-pad or tablet to file a simplified tax return. You can use this website to claim the child tax credit as well as any stimulus payments you were owed.
- You will be asked questions to help you file a simplified return to claim the Child Tax Credit.
- GetCTC.org is an IRS-approved official E-file provider.
- GetCTC.org has Spanish version is also available.
- Go to the Non-Filer Sign-up Tool by clicking here.
- Enter information about yourself and your dependents. Here is what you will need:
- Full name
- Current mailing address
- Email address
- Valid Social Security numbers (or other taxpayer IDs) for you and your dependents
- Bank account number, type and routing number, if you have one
- Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) you received from the IRS earlier this year, if you have one. If you lost or don’t know your IP PIN, you can find it by clicking here.
- The IRS will check to see if you are eligible.
- If so, you don’t need to do anything to get the payments
- For more information about the Non-Filer Sign-up Tool, click here.
Other Important Information about the Child Tax Credit…
If you don’t have a permanent address…
That is ok. You can claim this money even if you don’t have a permanent address right now. You can use the address of a friend, relative or trusted service provider like a shelter or transitional housing program. If you don’t have a bank account, a check or debit card will be mailed to this address.
If you don’t have a bank account…
That is ok. If you don’t have a bank account for direct deposit, a check or debit card will be mailed to your current mailing address. You can also check into these other options:
- Reloadable prepaid debit cards or mobile payment apps with routing and account numbers.
- Find a federally insured bank, by clicking here.
The IRS will verify your identity…
You should be able to use your driver’s license or state ID card to verify your identity. You will find a space to do that in the Non-Filer Sign-up Tool.
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. If you filed 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 still have questions about the Child Tax Credit?
Give us a call toll free at 1-877-608-1009.
The Third COVID-19 Stimulus Payment
Starting in March of 2021, a third round of stimulus payments were sent to tax filers, people getting social security, and railroad retirees. SSI recipients and people who didn’t file taxes should get a check or an EIP debit card. People should get a payment if their adjusted gross income (meaning gross income minus deductions) is less than $75,000 for one person and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly.
The benefit amount:
- $1,400 for individuals, $2,800 for married couples filing jointly, and $1,400 for each qualifying dependent. This includes dependents who are full-time students younger than 24 and adult dependents.
- Payments are based on 2019 or 2020 tax returns as well as other return information available to IRS, for example, people who used the IRS portal to receive one of the stimulus payments in 2020.
- The payments will be less for individuals with an adjusted gross income (meaning gross income minus deductions) of more than $75,000 and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly.
- No payments will be given to individuals with an adjusted gross income (meaning gross income minus deductions) of more than $80,000 for one person and $160,000 for married couples filing jointly.
Need help paying for your 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.
You can also find help by clicking on the “Rent, Mortgage and Utility Help” tab on the left side of this page.
I need to get food for my children…
You may be eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly known as food stamps by visiting the “Food Resources” tab on the left side of this page. This includes school meals and WIC benefits.
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.