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The Tennessee Department of Human Services made essential financial resources available to families who were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. 

On March 26 at 10 a.m., families started applying online for up to two months of emergency cash assistance if they were employed as of March 11, and they’ve lost employment or at least 50% of their earned income as a result of the pandemic.

All TDHS offices currently operate on appointment only as a precaution for COVID-19. During this time, the department asks applicants to complete an application process for emergency cash assistance online at Applicants are required to upload their verification to the application prior to submitting to TDHS. Once the application and verifications are submitted, no further action will be needed. Applicants do not need to call the DHS office for an interview. Applicants will receive a notification of denial or approval via email within five days. If approved, applicants can expect an electronic benefit transfer card to be sent within five to seven days of approval via mail.

The emergency cash assistance provides two monthly cash payments to families who were employed as of March 11 and lost a job or at least 50% of their earned income due to the COVID-19 emergency. The money is funded by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and provides:

• $500 for a household of one to two people.

• $750 for a household of three to four people.

• $1,000 for a household with five or more people.

The assistance is available in addition to any unemployment benefits that people in the family may receive.

To be eligible, families must have been employed as of March 11 but have since then lost employment or at least 50% of their earned income due to the COVID-19 emergency, include a child younger than 18 or a pregnant woman, have a valid Social Security number, must not have resources that exceed $2,000, and the gross and/or unearned monthly income may not exceed 85% of the state’s median income that’s currently gross monthly income of:

• $2,696 for a household of one.

• $3,526 for a household of two.

• $4,356 for a household of three.

• $5,185 for a household of four.

• $6,015 for a household of five.

“We know the next few months are going to be a challenge for families across our state who unexpectedly lost a job through no fault of their own,” said TDHS Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes. “This emergency cash assistance will provide families with the temporary resources they need to support themselves during what we hope will be a short time away from their jobs. Helping families through this emergency is how we continue building a thriving Tennessee.”

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program is a federal workforce development and employment program that emphases work, training and personal responsibility. It is temporary and has a primary focus on gaining self-sufficiency through employment. Existing TANF customers receiving Families First benefits will be eligible to apply for the emergency cash assistance.

Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at

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