When financial troubles come calling, it’s easy to think you are on your own. Loss of work, large debt, and living paycheck-to-paycheck can quickly wear on your physical and mental health, but you don’t have to suffer alone. Often the cause of hardship is beyond an individual’s control and COVID-19 has vastly increased the numbers of families who find themselves needing assistance.
Aid is accessible and the state government of Tennessee has a range of programs and grants designed to give financial assistance to those in need. Read on to find out if you can get financial aid.
Affected by COVID: Assistance for Needy Families in Tennessee
The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) has made special provisions for families whose income has been adversely affected by the pandemic. If employment has been lost or earnings dropped by 50% or more because of COVID-19, the TDHS is providing two months of emergency cash assistance using an online application process as temporary assistance for needy families.
The amount received depends on the size of the household and will at least provide a financial cushion while alternative income streams are looked for. You can apply for emergency cash assistance online.
Struggling to pay your bills? Temporary Assistance for Needy Families may help.
Tennessee Families First is the state’s implementation of the federal government's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. TANF helps struggling parents to pay their bills, access childcare, and/or access job preparation help so they can get back on their feet while giving their children a good quality of life.
The Families First initiative allows those who sign up to achieve this self-sufficiency by providing child care help, transportation, education, training, and other support. Tennessee Families First can also help out with cash for those families with dependent children and who are struggling to make ends meet.
What are the requirements for the TANF program?
The needy families TANF program requires serious input from participants. Everyone who takes part has to follow a Personal Responsibility Plan (PRP). This is a contract between the Division of Welfare and Support Services and the TANF family that ensures the family gets maximum benefit from the program and is tailored to the individual and the skillset they have. To apply for Tennessee Families First you just need to visit the TDHS website and fill in their online application, which you can find here.
Tennessee Financial Aid for Students
Education is key to becoming financially independent but going to college is expensive. The Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) was set up in 1974 and administers over 20 state student financial aid programs. These include the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship and HOPE Access Grant, The Tennessee Reconnect Grant, and many others. The University Of Tennessee is a good place to start the search for grants, scholarships, and loans. There is an article on our website that tells you all about educational Pell Grants.
Tennessee Financial Aid for Healthcare
Healthcare costs can accrue quickly, and there is often little you can do to minimize these costs. CoverRX is part of the state’s CoverTN healthcare program and can help the needy to get affordable prescription medications. CoverKids is a low-cost government-backed health insurance plan for those aged 18 and under and women who need maternity cover.
Struggling to feed your family in Tennessee? Look at CACFP
Putting healthy food on the table is another problem that affects low-income households. Tennessee offers the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that provides reimbursement for meals for eligible participants.
Worried about becoming homeless in Tennessee? Look to THDA
Another major difficulty for those with financial hardship is keeping a roof over their heads. The Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) manages several emergency housing and financial assistance programs including the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program that helps the needy to pay their rent, and the Emergency Shelter Grant Program that helps when threatened with eviction.
Worried about losing utilities in Tennessee? Look to LIHEAP
Help is available for utility bills. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal initiative that can aid you in meeting these bills. You can read all about that here.
Though financial hardship can drag you down there are many organizations that are willing to help you improve your situation and gain stability. Don’t be scared to ask for help – there are people who can provide assistance until you get back on your feet.