AM I ELIGIBLE FOR SNAP?
The following describes considerations for SNAP eligibility in the State of Tennessee:
Residency. Applicants must be living in the State of Tennessee to receive SNAP benefits in the state.
Age and Relationship. There are no specific age limits to receive SNAP benefits. Parents and their children 21 years old or younger living together are considered one household. Minors who apply on their own must be living without their parents. Individuals living together and who purchase and prepare food together are treated as one household.
Citizenship and Social Security Numbers. An applicant must be a U.S. citizen, a U.S. National, or a qualified alien to get SNAP benefits. Some legal immigrants are ineligible for SNAP benefits; however, dependents of an ineligible immigrant are often eligible. To be eligible, all SNAP household members must have a social security number or proof of having applied for one.
Work. To receive SNAP benefits, most able-bodied people between 16 and 59 years old must register for work, participate in the Employment & Training Program if offered, accept offers of employment, and cannot quit a job. Able-bodied adults without dependents aged 18 to 49 can receive only a limited number of benefit months in 3 years, unless working 80 hours per month or otherwise determined exempt from the rule.
Other Factors. Strikers must be resource and income eligible before the day of the strike. Most college students must be working an average of 20 hours per week, enrolled in work-study, caring for young dependents, or receiving Families First. Felons convicted of certain drug-related offenses are not eligible for SNAP benefits. Individuals disqualified for fraud are ineligible for one year for the first offense, two years for the second offense, and permanently for the third. Dependents of disqualified or ineligible individuals may be eligible.
Resource Test. The asset limit is $2,250 for most households and $3,500 for households containing a member who is disabled or 60 years of age. Assets not counted are the home the applicant is presently living in and its lot, household goods, income producing property, real estate that is up for sale, cash value of life insurance, personal property, retirement accounts such as IRA and 401k plans, and vehicles with equity value under $1,500. Other vehicles not counted are those used for family transportation, to go to and from work, to produce income, for subsistence hunting and fishing, as the household’s home, to transport a disabled household member, and to carry the household’s primary source of heating fuel or water. Countable assets include cash on hand, money in checking, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, stocks, bonds, property not up for sale, and lump-sum payments.
Income Tests. The SNAP program does not count scholarships, grants and loans used for tuition and fees, reimbursements, heating assistance, earnings of children age 17 and younger who are in school and most loans. Countable income may include but is not limited to such things as: employment, self-employment, alimony, child support, disability benefits, Social Security/SSI, Worker’s Compensation, Unemployment benefits, pensions, stipends, and interest income. Households which contain an elderly or disabled member do not have to pass the gross income standards but are subject to the net income standards.
Deductions. SNAP rules allow income deductions, including a 20% deduction on earnings, a standard deduction given to all households, dependent-care expenses incurred, a shelter/utility deduction for a non-special household not to exceed $586, and medical expenses over $35 for elderly or disabled household members.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR SNAP?
Applications may be submitted in person to your county Tennessee Department of Human Services office, or online through the State website. Completed applications may be dropped off at DHS offices during business hours, or you may make an appointment to apply in person. To find your local DHS office, CLICK HERE.
CLICK HERE to apply online.
FTAAAD can also assist you with completing an application by phone or in person at FTAAAD offices. Contact the FTAAAD SNAP Outreach Coordinator, Kathleen McLaughlin, at 423-722-5093 for more information, or to schedule an appointment.
CAN I INCREASE MY MONTHLY BENEFIT AMOUNT?
There are several reasons you may be eligible for increased benefit amounts. Changes to your monthly income, housing costs or medical expenses may qualify you for higher benefits.
If one or more of the following situations applies to your household, it could affect the amount of benefits you are receiving every month:
Another person has moved into your household
Your income has decreased
Your rent or mortgage payment has increased
You are paying one or more utilities that you weren’t previously paying
You have out-of-pocket medical expenses that have not been reported to DHS, including: Health, vision or dental insurance and Medicare premiums; Medical, dental or mental healthcare bills or co-payments; Inpatient or rehabilitation care; Prescriptions, medical supplies, glasses, dentures, hearing aids, prosthetics, service animals; Medical-related transportation and lodging; Costs of home-health aides; Outstanding medical debt.
If any of these situations apply to you, the First Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability SNAP Outreach Coordinator can assist you with the paperwork to submit this information to DHS. Call Kathleen McLaughlin at 423-722-5093 to be screened for these potentially-eligible deductions.
WHAT OTHER BENEFITS MAY COME WITH SNAP?
SNAP beneficiaries in Tennessee may be eligible for participation in additional programs, including free or low-cost cell phones and service, affordable home internet, job training and placement assistance, nutrition education, and "double dollars" at some farmers markets.
For more information about these programs, contact the SNAP Outreach Coordinator at 423-722-5093.
MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR SNAP DOLLARS
Good nutrition and healthy eating habits are critical for everyone, but especially for those over age 60. But healthy foods can be more expensive to buy and prepare.
SNAP-Ed, an educational program offered through the USDA and Tennessee Department of Human Services, teaches people to shop for and cook healthy meals. SNAP-Ed can help people learn how to make their SNAP dollars stretch. For more information about how to participate in this valuable program, CLICK HERE or call your county DHS office.
WHAT IF I'M TURNED DOWN FOR SNAP?
You may file an appeal by writing, by phone, or online. To file an appeal in writing, please download and fill out the appeal entry form HERE and submit to the Clerk's Office, which is a part of the Division of Appeals and Hearings by mail, fax, or email.
Appeal online by visiting https://appealsonline.dhs.tn.gov/.
To check the status of an appeal visit: https://appealsonline.dhs.tn.gov/StatusTracking/Search.
James K. Polk Building
505 Deaderick Street, 1st Floor
ATTN: Clerk's Office
P.O. Box 198996
Nashville, TN 37219-8996
Fax: (615) 248-7013 or (866) 355-6136
Phone: (866) 787-8209
To file an appeal by phone, please call (866) 787-8209 or (800) 270-1349 (TTY).