SNAP FAQ: What Is Tennessee EBT and How Can Residents Apply for Benefits?

Indianapolis - Circa March 2019: SNAP and EBT Accepted here sign V.
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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional assistance initiative. In Tennessee, SNAP is administered by the Tennessee Department of Human Services. Benefits are issued monthly on the Tennessee EBT card during a set length of time called a certification period.

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Low-income Tennessee residents may qualify for SNAP if they meet certain eligibility criteria. Residents must pass an income and resource test, plus additional requirements. The amount of benefits you receive depends on your household’s resources and situation.

To receive benefits, most able-bodied residents 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. 

College students can also receive SNAP benefits but they must be working an average of 20 hours per week, be enrolled in work-study, caring for young dependents or receiving Families First, the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

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Once approved for SNAP, EBT cards are mailed within 30 days. EBT cards can be used at participating stores and online retailers to purchase food items.

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You can apply for SNAP by completing and submitting an application online through the Tennessee ONE DHS portal. You can also submit a printed application by uploading or mailing it to TDHS. Contact your local TDHS office to have an application mailed to you or you can download a SNAP application.

According to the TDHS, the steps needed to apply for and maintain SNAP are based on your SNAP classification, which is based on your household and income situation. Your classification will determine if additional documentation is needed to maintain SNAP benefits following approval.

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Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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