Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Please tell us if you need assistance with this site because you have a disability or don’t speak English. Free assistance is available. Contact the Family Assistance Service Center Number 866-311-4287 and/or the TTY number at 711. After the recorded message, you will reach an operator who can provide you with an interpreter.
What is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)?
Formerly referred to as “food stamps,” the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutritional assistance initiative administered at the state level. In Tennessee, SNAP is managed by the Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS).
SNAP can be viewed as a bridge to help Tennesseans reach their full potential as self-sufficient contributing members of our community and economy. At TDHS, we administer SNAP with the belief that you can focus on work, school, and family wellness when you’re well-nourished and don’t have to worry about where your next meal will come from. Excelling at your job, training or higher education can increase career prospects, earning potential, and levels of self-sufficiency. These opportunities can help your family transition from today’s challenges into a brighter future tomorrow.
There may be occasions when a power outage causes households to lose nutritional resources and Replacement SNAP is needed. To learn more about replacement SNAP and related supports as they are made available, click here.
How Does SNAP Work
Following federal guidelines, SNAP functions by providing qualifying households with a grocery stipend for a set length of time called a certification period. During the certification period, benefits are distributed using an Electronic Benefit Card (EBT) Card. Similar to credit cards, EBT cards can be used at participating stores and online retailers to purchase groceries. The amount of SNAP granted and the SNAP certification period are based on a household’s resources and situation.
Who Can Receive SNAP
SNAP is available to households (individuals who live and prepare food together) that meet certain qualifications referred to as eligibility criteria. SNAP eligibility takes residency, age and relationship, citizenship, social security number assignment, employment, resource, income, and related deductions factors into consideration. These factors not only determine a household’s eligibility to receive SNAP but also determine if additional documents will be required for a household to maintain SNAP after SNAP approval. Failure to submit required documents such as change forms or Simplified Reporting Forms can result in the cancellation of SNAP benefits.
Where to Use SNAP
SNAP can be used to buy “staple food” items at most grocery stores and some online retailers.
For information on what can be purchased with SNAP, Click Here to visit the USDA Eligible Food Items page.
Applying for SNAP
You can apply for SNAP by completing and submitting a SNAP application online OR you may submit a printed application by uploading or mailing a printed application to TDHS. To receive a printed application, you may contact your local office to have an application mailed to you or Click Here download a SNAP application in the language of your choosing.
After you submit your SNAP application, other documentation and actions may be required to process your application and maintain your benefits. Click Here to learn more about the SNAP application process and related form and documentation requirements.
Preparing to Apply for SNAP
If you apply for SNAP benefits, you may need documents that show the following:
- Social security number
- Shelter costs
- Utility costs
- Other household information
Having these documents ready for submission can help your application process go smoothly. You may also be asked to provide more information during an eligibility interview. Click Here to learn more about the application process and associated timelines.
After You Receive SNAP Approval
Once you’re approved for SNAP, you may be required to submit additional forms or documents to maintain SNAP according to your SNAP classification. Failure to submit your documentation on time could prevent you from receiving SNAP, result in a termination of SNAP benefits or force you to restart the application process.
To help you maintain your benefits after approval, we encourage you to Click Here to visit the Applying for Services page and view step-by-step instructions for receiving and maintaining SNAP in Tennessee. You can also use the links below to download a checklist to use as an “at home” guide to track the progress of your SNAP case and manage associated deadlines and document requirements.
SNAP Application Checklists
- Simplified Reporting Four-Six Month Certification (For households with shorter certification periods)
- Simplified Reporting 12-Month Certification Checklist
- Simplified Reporting 24-Month Certification Checklist (For households with all members over 60 years of age or have a disability)
- 10-Day Reporting Classification Checklist (For households with self-employed members and households certified to receive SNAP for less than four months)
Reaching Self Sufficiency
SNAP is one tool administered by TDHS to help Tennesseans reach their full potential. Our hope is that by the end of your certification period, you will reach a point where you no longer need SNAP and are able to care for your household independently without outside support. Use the links below to learn about other Tennessee resources that can empower you:
Employment and Education Resources
- Jobs4tn.gov Employment and Training (E&T) Services for SNAP Recipients
- Employment and Training Assistance for High-Schoolers and Adults with Disabilities
- Federal Student Aid
- TDHS Programs
- Child Support
- Child Care Payment Assistance
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)/Families First
- Enroll a Child in the Imagination Library
- Find a Family Focused Solutions Provider near you here.
COVID-19 Safety Measures
PLEASE NOTE: TDHS has implemented COVID-19 precautions for all visitors entering office lobbies across the state. These guidelines will impact customers coming into state offices for scheduled in-person appointments.
- Arriving alone to drop-off or pick-up documents or take part in scheduled in-person appointments.
- Answering COVID-19 health screening questions.
- Maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others.
- Not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
Some interview requirements have been temporarily waived for individuals receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits. Customers filing initial applications and recertifications are not required to visit an office provided their identity has been verified and all other mandatory verifications have been completed.
Have Questions About SNAP?
If you have questions, answers about SNAP are just a click or a call away.
Visit a Questions Page
Find many of the answers you’re looking for when you Click Here to visit the TDHS Family Assistance Frequently Asked Questions page. Additional answers about SNAP are also available on the Ask USDA page when you Click Here.
Use Case Connect
You can find information about your case by checking CaseConnect in the One DHS Customer Portal. Click here to visit the One DHS Customer portal, or click here to learn more about it.
Chat With Us
Ava, the Tennessee Department of Human Services Virtual Assistant can direct you to the answers for many of your questions and provide points of contact to speak to TDHS workers regarding your case. Look for the “Chat with Ava” image on the lower right side of this page to chat and find the answers you need.
Submit an Inquiry Form
The TDHS inquiry form is a convenient way to submit an inquiry about your case. Once the form is submitted, a TDHS representative will contact you regarding the information provided on your form. Click Here to submit a form.
Call the Family Service Center
Find Us on Social @TNHumanServices
Many updates are shared via our social media pages and messaging. Find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter to discover updates on TDHS programs, or visit our YouTube for informative videos about TDHS programming.
Contact Your Local Office
TDHS has offices to serve all 95 counties in Tennessee and can be reached via phone or visited by scheduled appointment. However, many of these offices have COVID-19 safety measures in place and are closed to “through traffic.” Click Here for a list of TDHS office locations.
We’re always working to make the experience of TDHS customers better. Click Here to complete a Customer Experience Survey and let us know what we’re doing well or how we can improve our service.
Need help finding the right information? Click the chat icon in the red circle located in the lower right corner of this screen to find many answers related to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP), Families First Program and contact information.
Reports and Information:
TDHS is currently reviewing and revising its SNAP policies in order to simplify, streamline, and ensure the documents reflect our current best practice. While the initial policy review and revision is conducted, there may be some conflicts or incongruence between some portions of the policy manual and the new or revised policies. If you have questions related to SNAP policies please email SnapPolicy.DHS@tn.gov.
The non-discrimination section of the SNAP Policy Manual has been replaced by
Ensuring a Fair Quality Process
To ensure the SNAP application process is conducted fairly in accordance with federal guidelines, a SNAP Quality Control Review is in place. Click Here to learn more.
USDA Nondiscrimination Statement
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
1. mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
2. fax: (202) 690-7442; or
3. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.