What is snap?

SNAP provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families so they can purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP (formerly known as food stamps)

Nutrition assistance program that helps to ensure eligible low-income families and individuals are able to obtain a nutritious diet. TDHS has a dual focus on alleviating hunger and establishing or re-establishing self-sufficiency. Program benefits are intended to supplement a household’s monthly food budget to allow them to direct more of their available income toward essential living expenses.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) ensures eligible families and individuals with low income receive benefits to supplement their household monthly food budget, maintain good health, and allow them to direct more of their available income toward essential living expenses. TDHS staff determine the eligibility of applicants based on guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The primary goals of the program are to alleviate hunger and malnutrition and to improve nutrition and health ineligible households. TDHS has a dual focus on alleviating hunger and establishing or re-establishing self-sufficiency.

Who is eligible for SNAP benefits?

Under federal rules, to be eligible for benefits a household’s income and resources must meet three tests: Gross monthly income — that is, household income before any of the program’s deductions are applied — generally must be at or below 130 percent of the poverty line.

Tennesseans Served
  • $702,234,618 in Emergency SNAP to 4,133,110 households.
  • 91% timeliness rate for initial SNAP applications.
  • 874,400 people representing 440,023 Families served through SNAP in June 2021.
  • 612,917 SNAP applications received.
  • $131,396,377 benefits distributed in June 2021.
  • $298.61 average monthly SNAP benefit.
What is Tennessee Food Stamp Program?

The Tennessee Food Stamp program, financed 100 percent by Federal funds and administered by the Department of Human Services, provides nutritional assistance benefits to children and families, the elderly, the disabled, the unemployed, and working families. Its importance as a safety net cannot be overemphasized because it provides a mechanism for stretching food dollars for those families and individuals with insufficient income or resources to meet all of their needs. Since the nationwide implementation of the Food Stamp program in 1964, malnutrition has been virtually eliminated; however, hunger and food insecurity continue to exist at unacceptable levels in every state. As a result, a national campaign to end hunger has been initiated by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services.

To receive food stamp benefits, you must first apply for benefits and participate in an interview with DHS staff. If eligible, you will receive a Benefit Security Card or EBT Card, which allows food stamp benefits to be issued and accessed electronically.

Applying for benefits is just the first step. You will need to work with your local DHS office to confirm your eligibility.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee’s SNAP Assistance Hotline

If you need a packet mailed to you or if you simply have questions, contact the SNAP Hotline at 423-279-0430 ext. 204. We can also assist you with filling out your packet by phone.


Need support applying for SNAP benefits? Click Here!

Feeding America has created a landing page for Second Harvest Food Bank to assist you in applying for SNAP benefits. Click the link, complete the  short form about SNAP and submit. You will be contacted by email and/or phone to offer multiple ways to complete an application for SNAP benefits. The SHFB Outreach Coordinator is available to answer questions and assist you in the application process.