NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Families receiving support from the state to help them find transportation, child care, educational support, job training and temporary cash assistance may have seen an extra payment on their EBT cards Thursday.
The Tennessee Department of Human Services said households with a case in the Families First program as of Dec. 1 would receive a one-time additional payment of $500. It said the payment would help support nearly 24,000 children in those households ahead of the holiday season.
“Keeping up with the demands of the holiday season can introduce additional hurdles in caring for children, such as accommodating school breaks, providing extra meals, and so much more. This one-time boost in financial assistance is intended to help Families First participants overcome these temporary hurdles, positioning them to start the year off strong," said Commissioner Clarence Carter in a press release.
The Families First program is part of the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, focused on workforce development and employment. It is designed for families to participate in it temporarily and focuses on helping people overcome challenges they may face as they work to become self-sufficient.
To be eligible for the program, participants need to meet some financial standards while also agreeing to follow a "Personal Responsibility Plan." Part of the plan includes agreeing to keep immunizations and health checks up to date for children, keeping children in school, cooperating with child support services and participating in work or training for at least 30 hours per week, if they are not exempt.
As part of the work requirement, participants also need to develop a Family Empower Plan with the help of a case management provider. The plan is centered around the family and takes a two-generation approach to best address the family's strengths and needs.