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The Tennessee Department of Human Services will begin offering new resources on Wednesday to those with a financial need who were impacted by the April 12 tornado disaster, according to a news release from the TDHS.

Individuals will be able to submit applications for the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) benefits and the Families First/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Cash Assistance program until May 12.

Applications will be accepted from individuals currently living or working in an approved Bradley County zip code (37311, 37323, 37309, 37310, 37353, and 37312) or Hamilton County zip code (37302, 37363, 37379, 37412, 37416, and 37421), the release states.

D-SNAP provides one month of food assistance for families who may not normally be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Benefits are loaded onto an EBT (electronic benefit transfer) card that can be used at any authorized SNAP retailer or grocery store.

The Emergency Cash Assistance program provides a one-time cash payment to families significantly impacted by the April 12 weather disaster and is funded by the Families First/TANF program. It provides $500 for a household of 1 to 2 persons, $750 for a household of 3 to 4 persons or $1000 for a household with 5 or more persons. 

(READ MORE: Chattanooga area tornado relief: How to help and how to get help)

To be eligible for D-SNAP, applicants can't currently be receiving SNAP and must meet income requirements and have experienced at least one of the following conditions as a direct result of the April 12 weather disaster: 

* Unreimbursed expenses or personal property loss because of the severe weather or a resulting power outage

* Damage to residence or place of employment 

* Loss, reduction, or inaccessibility of income due to disaster related problems or damage to a work location

* Disaster-related expenses that are not expected to be reimbursed during the disaster benefit period. 

Applicants are encouraged to start the pre-application process online and upload documents to the TDHS website at https://tdhs.service-now.com/relief?id=relief_registration. Once those documents are submitted, applicants can complete the application process by calling 833-990-2348 or 423-781-0808 from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, according to the release.

If requested, elderly and/or disabled households can apply for D-SNAP over the phone by calling the number listed above. An eligibility counselor will be able to assist in completing an application and conduct an interview for eligibility via phone. 

To be eligible for emergency cash assistance, families must include a child under the age of 18 or a pregnant woman, have a valid social security number and live in a house or apartment or worked for a business that received significant damage during the April 12 storm, the release states.

"These two programs provide Tennesseans with the temporary resources they need to focus on putting their lives back together," TDHS Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes said in the release. "The April 12 tornado arrived during a time when many families were still impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are going to be there for them during this time of need providing assistance and helping rebuild a thriving Tennessee." 

All TDHS offices are operating on an appointment-only basis out of precaution due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so applicants should complete the application process for emergency cash assistance online. 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, according to the release.

TDHS warns applicants to tell the truth when applying for D-SNAP benefits, replacements, and supplements and not sell, trade, or give away any EBT card. Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance will not be given twice for the same disaster and all applications are subject to review.

Those who receive benefits to which they are not entitled will be required to pay them back. Individuals who break the SNAP rules may be disqualified from the program, fined up to $250,000, and/or put in jail for up to 20 years.

More information about the Tennessee Department of Human Services can be found at www.tn.gov/humanservices

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