Department of Human Services

Food Stamp Online  Policy Manual

Application Process




Food Stamp Table of Contents


An application is a signed document submitted to the Department of Human Services on which the household has requested assistance for Food Stamps, Families First, and/or Medicaid (TennCare).  Applications can be filed in person, by an authorized representative, by a person’s legally appointed guardian (or conservator in Families First only), by mail, by FAX or online.  Applications shall be made in the county of residence. 


The application file date will be the date the application is received in the county office, either by FAX, mail, online or in person.  The file date for a FAXED or online application includes holidays and weekends.  FAXED or online applications that contain the applicant’s name, address and a handwritten signature are acceptable.  Receipt of an original application in addition to the fax or online application is not required.


(1)   Same Day Filing


Any person inquiring about making application for Food Stamps, Families First, or Medicaid (TennCare) shall have the right of same-day filing.


The county shall provide an application to anyone requesting one.  If an application is filed, the date of application shall be recorded on the application form.  The applicant shall also be advised that he/she does not have to be interviewed before filing an application.  For Food Stamps an incomplete application may be filed as long as the form contains the applicant’s name, address, and the signature of either a responsible member of the household or the household’s authorized representative.


(2)   Reserved


(3)   Mailing Applications 


If the household has contacted the county office by telephone but does not wish to come to the office to file the application that same day and instead prefers receiving an application through the mail, the county shall mail an application form to the household on the same day the written request or telephone call is received.


Applications will be mailed to Food Stamp households when benefit renewal appointments are scheduled.  The completed application must be returned to the county office before the client can be interviewed to re-determine eligibility.  If the household does not return the application and does not keep the scheduled appointment; allow the Food Stamp case to close automatically at the end of the certification period.


(4)   Contacting the Wrong Office 


(a)     If a county has designated certification offices to serve specific areas of the county, applicants may at times contact (in person or by phone) the wrong office.  If so, the wrong office must still assist the applicant as follows:


1.      Advise the applicant of same-day filing and mailing of an application.

2.      Give the applicant the address and telephone number of the correct or appropriate office.

3.      Offer to forward the applicant’s application to the appropriate office that same day if the applicant has completed enough information on the form to submit it.


(b)    The applicant must be informed that the application is considered filed and the processing standards begin the date the application has been received in a county office.


If an application is mailed to the wrong office, that office shall mail the application to the appropriate office the same day it is received.


(5)   Food Stamp Applications


The county office shall conduct a single interview at initial and subsequent applications.  Families First applicants also applying for Food Stamps shall be interviewed by one caseworker for both types of assistance.  However, eligibility and benefit levels shall be based on Food Stamp criteria for Food Stamps and Families First criteria for Families First.  Certification shall also be in accordance with notice and procedural requirements of the Food Stamp regulations and Families First regulations accordingly.


Glossary of Terms


Food Stamp Table of Contents