This story was updated at 8:46 a.m. on Monday, April 6, 2020, with more information.
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The Tennessee Department of Human Services is making essential financial resources available to families that have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 emergency, according to a TDHS news release.
Starting Thursday at 10 a.m. CST (11 a.m. EST), families can begin applying online for up to two months of emergency cash assistance.
The Emergency Cash Assistance 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 $2,000, 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
The assistance is available in addition to any unemployment benefits individuals in the family may be receiving, according to the release.
"We know the next few months are going to be a challenge for families across our state who unexpectedly lost a job through no fault of their own," TDHS Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes said in the release. "This emergency cash assistance will provide families with the temporary resources they need to support themselves during what we hope will be a short time away from their jobs. Helping families through this emergency is how we continue building a thriving Tennessee."
Applicants are required to upload their verification to the application prior to submitting it to TDHS. Once the application and verifications have been submitted, no further action will be needed.
A notification of denial or approval will be given via email within 5 days. If approved, applicants can expect an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card to be sent within 5-7 days of approval through the mail.
All TDHS offices are currently operating on appointment only due to the COVID-19 crisis. Applicants do not need to call the DHS office for an interview since the application can be completed online.
Applicants can call 833-496-0661 to learn the status of their application, including approval or denial and how much money the approved family can expect to receive.
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is a federal workforce development and employment program emphasizing work, training, and personal responsibility. It's temporary and has a primary focus on gaining self-sufficiency through employment. Existing TANF customers receiving Families First benefits will be eligible to apply for this emergency cash assistance, the release states.
To submit an application, visit https://tdhs.service-now.com/relief?id=relief_registration.
For more information, visit www.tn.gov/humanservices.