Eligibility for Tennessee Food Stamps
Tennessee food stamps requirements must be met prior to the distribution of benefits, which is handled by the Department of Human Services (DHS). Food stamps eligibility standards for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) vary from state to state, so it is crucial for applicants in Tennessee to review the qualifications set forth by the DHS. To qualify for food stamps benefits in TN, applicants must meet several requirements related to income, citizenship and residency as well as supply the accompanying required documents. In addition, the requirements for food stamps factor in work-based obligations. To learn more about how to qualify for food stamps in Tennessee, review the below topics.
Tennessee Income Requirements for SNAP Benefits
Income-based food stamps requirements are the most important qualification for SNAP, as the program exists to assist low-earning individuals and families by providing funds for food and groceries. To qualify for TN SNAP benefits, applicants must first determine their household sizes. The income qualifications for food stamp assistance increase as the household grows, since the program considers the household size in conjunction with the current Federal Poverty Level (FPL). For instance, to qualify for SNAP in Tennessee as a family of two, applicants can earn much less than families of five. The current FPL levels are broken down into net and gross income figures. However, households with disabled and/or elderly family members are only subject to meeting the net income limits.
In addition to income, food stamp requirements in TN mandate factoring in your household's countable resources, which may affect your financial eligibility. There are two levels of resources: one limit set for households with elderly and/or disabled family members residing in the home and one without. Countable assets when determining Tennessee SNAP benefits qualifications include cash, funds in checking and savings accounts, stocks and bonds, certificates of deposit, properties not up for sale and any lump-sum payments.
If your household still does not qualify for food stamps benefits in TN, consider the allowable deductions you can calculate in order to reach your desired FPL threshold. SNAP requirements in Tennessee allow applicants to subtract expenses for dependent care, shelter and utilities and medical care over $35 for elderly and/or disabled household members. There is a standard deduction for all households and a 20 percent deduction on earnings.
Tennessee Citizenship Requirements for SNAP Benefits
Food stamps eligibility in TN also involves proving legal presence in the country, as U.S. citizens, qualified aliens or U.S. nationals. To meet the citizenship requirements for food stamp assistance in Tennessee, prepare qualifying documents, which may include certified birth certificates, valid passports, Certificates of Naturalization and immigration documentation. Once citizenship qualifications for SNAP eligibility are met, applicants must be prepared to supply proof of state residency. To qualify for SNAP assistance as a resident of Tennessee, applicants need to submit government-issued credentials displaying their current residential addresses (driver's licenses or state ID cards) or other acceptable forms of recent, postmarked mail sent to the home.
In addition to citizenship and residency requirements for food stamps, you must also provide your Social Security Number to be eligible for SNAP. If someone in your household does not possess a Social Security Number, he or she must apply for one with the Social Security Administration office prior to filing any food assistance paperwork. For those who recently applied for Social Security Numbers to qualify for SNAP benefits, have the proof of application handy when the time comes to request food stamp benefits in Tennessee.
Other SNAP Eligibility Requirements You Must Meet in Tennessee
Work-related TN food stamp requirements are also a necessity for potential beneficiaries interested in receiving food assistance from the DHS. In Tennessee, to meet the work requirements for SNAP assistance, applicants 16 through 59 years of age who are considered Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) must work at least 20 hours per week to maintain eligibility. Work qualifications for TN SNAP also allow beneficiaries to participate in the state's Employment & Training Program, which can count toward meeting the required work hours. In addition, all ABAWDs who are offered suitable work following job training must accept their positions and cannot quit their jobs. Doing so will affect eligibility for food stamp assistance and may result in a rejection of benefits.
Applicants Who Are Not Eligible for Tennessee SNAP Benefits
For those still wondering how to qualify for food stamps in TN, it is important to review the groups of people who are ineligible for benefits, no matter if they meet all of the above criteria. To start, SNAP eligibility in Tennessee is not available to college students who go to school more than halftime, with certain work- and family-related exceptions in place. In addition, strikers do not qualify for Tennessee SNAP benefits if they were not eligible the day prior to going on strike. Felons convicted of specific drug charges do not meet the requirements for food stamp assistance, nor do those disqualified for benefits fraud, though the term of ineligibility depends on the offense. Download our free guide to review more information about SNAP eligibility standards in Tennessee prior to applying for food assistance benefits.