Applying for SNAP Benefits in Tennessee & Eligibility Criteria to Qualify

 – Applying for SNAP Benefits in Tennessee –

Food stamps are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ( SNAP), which provides low-income households with the opportunity to buy eligible food products that support improved health and safety. 

 - Applying for SNAP Benefits in Tennessee -

The Tennessee Department of Human Services administers the SNAP benefits, also known as Families First benefits.

To qualify for SNAP benefits in Texas, you must first meet certain revenue requirements. To earn SNAP benefits, you must first and foremost be a citizen of the state of Tennessee. SNAP benefits are also available based on citizenship, wages, jobs, assets and deductions.

Within this article, we will explain step by step how to apply online within Tennessee for food stamps. To find out whether you are eligible to earn compensation from Food Stamps, please check the monthly income cap map below.

What’s the Income Limit for Tennessee Food Stamps?

Use the chart below to see if your household is earning less than the monthly gross income limit.

Net income factors in deductions and taxes, which is a complicated process. So if your household income is below the gross limit, you should be applying to find out if it is within the net limit.

Effective from October 1, 2019, through September 30, 2020.

Household size Gross monthly income limit* Net monthly income limit Max benefit
1 $1,354 $1,041 $194
2 $1,832 $1,410 $355
3 $2,311 $1,778 $509
4 $2,790 $2,146 $646
5 $3,269 $2,515 $768
6 $3,748 $2,883 $921
7 $4,227 $3,251 $1,018
8 $4,705 $3,620 $1,164
Each additional member  $479  $369 $146

_* If your household includes an elderly (60+) or disabled person, a higher gross income might still qualify._

What More

If you are registered in Tennessee for SNAP benefits, you will be given an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, also known as a Benefit Protection card.

EBT is an online program in which consumers shop food stamp and cash assistance benefits and access them electronically at a point of sale computer via an EBT card.

Your EBT card can be used just like a debit card to buy eligible food products at any participating grocery store.

Each month, your benefits will be delivered to your EBT card the same day. If you are eligible for SNAP benefits then follow our step-by – step guide on how to apply for online food stamps at Tennessee.

If you wish to apply for SNAP benefits but are unable to do so online, you can also apply to your local county office at the Department of Human Services.

Eligibility Information

The following describes considerations for SNAP eligibility:


Applicants must be living in the State of Tennessee to receive SNAP benefits in the state.

Age and Relationship

There are no age limitations related to earning SNAP benefits. Parents and children 21 or younger living together are considered to be one family.

Minors who apply by themselves must live without their guardians. Persons who work together and who buy and cook food together are regarded as one family.

Citizenship and Social Security Numbers

An applicant must be a resident of the United States, a U.S. Foreign, or an eligible alien to get benefits from SNAP. Some legal immigrants are ineligible for SNAP benefits; however, an illegal immigrant dependent is also eligible for the benefits.

To be eligible all members of the SNAP household must have a social security number or proof that they have applied for one.


In order to obtain SNAP benefits, most people between the ages of 16 and 59 must register for jobs, enroll in the Employment & Training Program if offered, accept job offers and can not leave a job.

Able-bodied adults without dependents between the ages of 18 and 49 may earn only a limited number of benefits months every 3 years, unless they work 80 hours a month or are otherwise excluded from the law.

Other Factors

Strikers must be resource-eligible and won before strike day. Most college students must work an average of 20 hours per week, be enrolled in work-study, take care of young dependents, or receive First Families.

Crimes convicted of such drug-related offences can not apply for SNAP benefits. Individuals who are disqualified for fraud are ineligible for the first offense for one year, for the second offense for two years and for the third offence indefinitely.

Dependents of individuals with disqualification or ineligibility may be eligible.

Resource Test

For most families, the asset cap is $2,250 and $3,500 for families with a disabled person, over 60.

Assets not counted are the home in which the claimant actually resides and their inventory, household items, income-generating properties, up for sale real estate.

They also include life insurance cash value, personal property, savings accounts such as IRA and 401k plans, and equity-based vehicles below $1,500.

Other vehicles not included are those used for family travel,  transporting a disabled member of the household, carrying the primary source of heating fuel or water for the household, etc.

Countable assets include cash on hand, checking funds, savings accounts, deposit certificates, inventories, shares, non-sale properties, and lump-sum payments.

Income Tests

The SNAP plan does not include scholarships, grants, and loans used for tuition and fees, reimbursements, heating aid, earnings from school-in-school children aged 17 and younger, and other loans.

Countable income can include but is not limited to, items such as jobs, self-employment, alimony, child support, disability insurance, social security / SSI, workers ‘ compensation, unemployment benefits, pensions, stipends, and interest income.

Households with an aged or disabled individual do not need to comply with the gross income requirements but are subject to the net income criteria.


Food stamp rules allow income deductions, including a 20 percent wage deduction, a regular deduction for all families, dependent care expenses incurred.

It also allows a shelter/utility deduction for a non-special household not to exceed $552, and medical expenses over $35 for elderly or disabled members of the family.

How to Apply for Food Stamps Online TN

How to Apply for Food Stamps Online TN

Step 1 – Do You Qualify to Receive Snap Benefits?

It is important that you decide whether you are eligible to receive benefits before going through the process of applying for benefits.

A caseworker at the Department of Human Services can request documents such as birth certificates, social security cards, check stubs , bank statements, utility bills, rent receipts, tax returns, and insurance policies to determine eligibility.

Applicants shall be informed of their eligibility decision by mail within 45 days of the date of receipt.

Step 2 – Apply for Tennessee SNAP Benefits

Once you’ve determined your eligibility, the next step is to submit your SNAP application. You will be able to apply for benefits online at the Tennessee Department of Human Services website.

If you have not done so already, sign up a DHS account before completing your SNAP application. Be sure to have the following information ready for each member of your household before applying for benefits.

  • Social Security Number
  • Personal Identification (Example: driver’s license, school ID with photo, Passport, Resident Alien Card, I-94 card, voter’s registration card)
  • Residence Information (Example: lease agreement, utility bill, phone bill, or driver’s license with your address on it)
  • Income (Example: check stubs, employer statement)
  • Shelter costs (Example: mortgage payments, property tax, homeowner’s insurance, rent receipt, lease agreement)
  • Utilities Costs (Example: electric bill, water bill, gas bill)

Step 3 – Complete an Interview

When your application is received by your district government, a district departmental representative will contact you to schedule an interview with you. Interviews typically are performed in person or by telephone.

After your SNAP application is submitted, you will receive more information about the interview process. During your interview you may be asked to provide more details to assess your eligibility.

Your agent will explain what information is needed and how to get it, and will help if you need help. Please be informed that all data is kept confidential.

Step 4 – Tennessee EBT Card

If you did this, that means you were eligible to receive SNAP benefits in Tennessee State! You will receive your debit-like EBT card which is also known in the mail as the Benefit Security card.

At point-of-sale terminals, the card is to be used just like a debit card. Be sure to set up your 4-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) after receiving your EBT card in the mail. Be sure to not share the amount with anyone.

Your benefits can be used to redeem approved food items at participating retailers. If you wish to know the current balance on your Tennessee EBT card, please access that information here by logging into your EBT account.

Do I Qualify for Food Stamps?

To figure out if you qualify for food stamps, Tennessee needs to know your:

  • Household size: How many people you live and buy/make food with.
  • Income: How much money your household makes. This includes both earned income (the money you make from jobs) and unearned income (cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and child support, etc.).
  • Assets: How much you have in the bank, not including retirement savings or your most recent tax returns. Some states also include real estate, trusts, investments, and vehicles as assets.

Who Counts as A Member of My Household?

Anyone you live and buy/make food with counts a member of your household.

  • You may live with people who don’t count as household members, like tenants who are renting a room, or adult children (22+) who buy/make their own food.
  • Children (under 22) always count as household members, even if they buy/make their own food.
  • Elderly (60+) and disabled people count as household members if you buy/make food for them, or you buy/make food together. If they live with you but buy/make food separately, they do not count as household members.


How Much Money/property Can I Have and Still Get Food Stamps?

Tennessee’s asset limit is $2,250. This limit goes up to $3,250 if your household includes at least one elderly (60+) or disabled person.

Can I Get Food Stamps if I’m Unemployed?

Yeah, as long as you’re not quitting a job or deliberately can your hours to apply. If you are not employed or employed less than 30 hours a week, you may be expected to engage in an job and training programme.

There are some exceptions which apply. For more details , please visit your local office or call the Tennessee SNAP hotline: 1-866-311-4287

Can I Get Food Stamps if I Have a Drug Felony Conviction?

Yes. Unless you are eligible for food stamps, because of a drug conviction, Tennessee won’t disqualify you so you may have to enter a rehab programme.

For more details, contact your local office or a Tennessee SNAP hotline: 1-866-311-4287.

Can I Get Food Stamps if I’m Not a Citizen?

Non-citizens whose legal status is suitable are eligible for food stamps. Skilled aliens include refugees, trafficking victims, Cuban and Haitian immigrants, special-status Iraqi and Afghan immigrants and more.

More Questions People Ask

Can I get food stamps if I’m homeless?

Yes. To apply for food stamps you do not need to have a mailing address or housing. If you live in a shelter that gives you free meals right now, you can always apply for food stamps.

Can I get more food stamps if I’m pregnant or a new parent?

Your household size will increase once your kid is born. More Members of the family = more benefits.

You can’t get more food stamps when you’re pregnant but you can apply for Women, Infant & Children (WIC) benefits. WIC offers care and services for pregnant mothers, new parents and children up to age 5.


We hope you found this guide useful when applying for SNAP benefits in Tennessee. If you have any questions or problems during the application process, please be sure to leave your feedback below. We would love to hear from you!

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