Financial Aid Available for Certain Families That Lost Employment Due to COVID-19

Last Updated on August 22, 2023 by Hannah Stevens

Qualified families, which have someone who lost a job due to the pandemic, may submit an online application for emergency cash assistance.

Call (866) 311-4287 to check the status of your Emergency Cash Assistance Application.

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is providing important financial assistance to families who have been severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Families may begin their application online for emergency cash assistance starting at 10 a.m. CST on Thursday, March 26. The assistance may be received for up to two months if they were still employed as of March 11, 2022 and they have lost their job, or they have lost at least 50% of their income due to the pandemic.

As a precaution against COVID-19, all TDHS offices are currently operating on appointment only basis. During this difficult time, the department requests that applicants complete the application process for emergency cash assistance online at Before submitting an application to TDHS, applicants must upload their verification. After the verifications and application have been submitted, there will not be any further action. For an interview, applicants DO NOT need to call the DHS office. Applicants will receive an email notification of approval or denial within 10 to 15 days. If approved, applicants should expect an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card to be mailed within 7 to 10 days.

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The Emergency Cash Assistance gives two monthly cash payments to families who were employed on March 11, 2020, and have lost their job, or lost at least 50% of their income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. This money comes from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, and they provide:

  • $500 for a household with 1 to 2 people.
  • $750 for a household with 3 to 4 people.
  • $1000 for a household with 5 or more people.

This assistance can be used in conjunction with any unemployment benefits that members of the family might receive.

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Families must be employed as of March 11, 2020, but have lost their job or at least 50% of their income because of the pandemic. This includes children under 18 and pregnant women. They must also have a valid social security number, not have resources exceeding $2,000, and a monthly gross and/or unearned income of less than or equal to 85% of the current State’s Median income.

  • For a household of 1, the gross monthly income is $2,696.
  • For a household of 2, the gross monthly income is $3,526.
  • For a family of three, the gross monthly income is $4,356.
  • For a family of four, the gross monthly income is $5,185.
  • For a household of five, the gross monthly income is $6,015.

“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,” the TDHS Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes stated. “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.”

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The Temporary Assistance for the Needy Families (TANF), a federal workforce development and employment program, emphasizes work, training and personal responsibility. This temporary program primarily focuses on gaining self-sufficiency by employment. This emergency cash assistance is available to TANF customers who are currently receiving Families First benefits.

Read more information about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at