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Emergency Cash Assistance

This application cycle ended on August 29, 2020. 

The Emergency Cash Assistance provides two monthly cash payments to families that were employed as of March 11, 2020 and have lost a job or lost at least 50% of their earned income due to the COVID-19 emergency. Applications for emergency cash assistance were accepted through August 29, 2020. The application cycle is now closed. This money is funded by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and provides:

  • $500 for a household of 1 to 2 persons.
  • $750 for a household of 3 to 4 persons.
  • $1000 for a household with 5 or more persons.

To be eligible, families must have been employed as of March 11, 2020 but have since then lost employment or at least 50% of their earned income due to the COVID-19 emergency, include a child under the age of 18 or a pregnant woman, have a valid Social Security Number, must not have resources exceeding $2000, 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.
  • Gross Monthly Income of $3,526 for a household of two.
  • Gross Monthly Income of $4,356 for a household of three.
  • Gross Monthly Income of $5,185 for a household of four.
  • Gross Monthly Income of $6,015 for a household of five.

To check the status of your application, call (866) 311-4287.

More Information:

Applicants are required to upload their verification to the application prior to submitting to TDHS. Once the application and verifications have been 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. If approved, applicants can expect an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card to be sent within 10-15 days of approval via mail.

This assistance is available in addition to any unemployment benefits individuals in the family may be receiving.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How will I know if my application is accepted?

You will receive an email at the email address you listed when applying once the application has been submitted. Be sure and check your SPAM folder if you do not receive one.

2. How will I know if my application is approved or denied?

You will receive a response via email within 10-15 days.  If approved, a card will be mailed to you. You can also call our Family Assistance Service Center at 866-311-4287.

3. What do I do if I think I made a mistake and want to correct it?

If your application has been denied, you will receive an email stating why the application was denied.  You can then submit a corrected application by logging into your account and selecting the denied application number.  After opening the denied application, you can click on the paperclip in the top right corner of application.  This will allow you to upload or attach any additional verifications for reconsideration.  Someone from the TDHS team will review the newly submitted information and send an email to you with the new decision.

If you have additional questions after attempting to correct the application, you can call the Family Assistance Service Center at 866-311-4287 from 8:00am until 4:30pm CST Monday through Friday.

4. What do I do if I think I’ve been wrongfully denied?

You can appeal your decision using the following link within 60 days of your denial:

5. Will I be eligible if I do not have a child or I am not pregnant?

No, the federal rules for this program require families to have children under 18 or a pregnant mother.

6. Am I eligible for Emergency Cash Assistance if my child is a disabled dependent but over 18?


7. What sort of documents do I need?

You will need to provide a layoff notice or proof of receiving reduced hours due to COVID-19 as part of the application along with verification of income prior to being laid off. You additionally must have valid Social Security numbers for all household members and provide a birth certificate for all household members born outside Tennessee. Proof of checking and/or savings account is required. Proof of unemployment benefits letter or any other income is required.

8. What is verification of income and resources?

Verification of income includes check stubs, statement from employer, and unemployment compensation approval notice. Check stubs and/or statement from employer must be for 4 weeks with at least two weeks showing income prior to loss or reduction. Self-Employment income must be verified by providing self-employment license (or any other proof of being self-employed) and most recent tax return filed or other documentation of reduction or loss of income. Verification of resources include but not limited to bank statements (checking/savings account). Birth Certificates should be provided to verify household relationship status. Pregnancy verification must be provided if no child in household underage of 18.

9. What do I do if I don’t have internet?

If you have a smartphone please try applying with it first.  If you don’t have a smartphone or internet service, please  contact your local office and schedule an appointment to complete an application.

10. What do I do if they site isn’t working?

If you are having problems applying for emergency cash assistance, make sure you are using the latest version of your internet browser.  Additionally, some customers having difficulty applying have reported success by switching to a Google Chrome browser.

11. What do I do if I have no written proof of losing my job?

You can provide the email or any other document you received notifying you to no longer show up to your job.

12. Can I apply with my cell phone?

Yes, our system can take applications submitted by a smartphone.

13. What Gross Monthly Income should be used?

You need to provide your ongoing Gross Monthly Income after becoming unemployed or having a reduction of at least 50% of income due to COVID-19. You will be required to provide proof of income at least 2 weeks prior to becoming unemployed or having a reduction in income.

14. When will my benefits arrive?

If approved, a card will be mailed to you within 10-15 days.

15. What if I have an existing EBT card?

If approved your emergency cash assistance will placed on your existing card within 3-5 days of receiving your approval notice via email.

16. Can I apply for Unemployment Benefits if I am approved for emergency cash assistance?


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