The Tennessee Department of Human Services said Monday it is providing extra support to thousands of families who receive monthly cash assistance through the state’s Families First program.
Households with a case in the Families First Program as of Thursday, Dec. 1, will receive a one-time additional payment of $500 on their existing Electronic Benefit Transfer cards. This one-time payment will be available beginning Dec. 1 1.
The department said the payment will provide extra support for nearly 24,000 children in participating Families First households ahead of the holiday season.
“We serve some of the most economically vulnerable families and children through the Families First program and recognize the challenges they’re facing,” said TDHS Commissioner Clarence H. Carter. “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.”
Families First is Tennessee’s federally funded Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. TANF provides temporary cash assistance, transportation, child care assistance, educational support, job training, and other support services.
State officials are also warning Families First recipients of a recent increase in attempts to defraud EBT cards. Families First recipients are encouraged to be aware of EBT card skimming and phishing schemes.
To prevent card skimming fraud, customers should only use card reading devices that do not appear to have been tampered with, paying attention to whether the machine has unusual damage, signs of glue marks around the card reader, an unusual keyboard, loose parts, and other unusual signs that the card reader may display.
Also, the Tennessee Department of Human Services does not call, text or email Families First and EBT recipients for personal information regarding their EBT card. Do not provide any personal information to any entity via text, email or over the phone if you suspect fraud.
To confirm whether the Department of Human Services needs information regarding your case or benefits, customers should call the Tennessee Department of Human Services Family Assistance Service Center at 866-311-4287.