United Way announces tool that connects users to unclaimed benefits

JACKSON, Tenn. — United Ways of Tennessee announce the launch of Tennessee Benefit Kitchen.

A free, virtual resource, Tennessee Benefit Kitchen screens users for unclaimed public benefits. A news release states 103 million Americans leave around $80 billion in public benefits unclaimed each year.

To receive a free screener, Tennessee residents can text “Benefits” to 211-211. Users will receive notice of eligible tax credits and benefits, as well as links to apply for them.

Tax credits and benefits currently covered in the screener include:

  • Food Stamps (SNAP)
  • Cash Assistance (TANF)
  • Women Infants and Children (WIC)
  • Head Start
  • School Meals
  • Child Care Assistance
  • TennCare (Medicaid, for adults and children)
  • ACA (Affordable Care Act for adults and children)
  • CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program)
  • County Medical Services
  • Home Energy Assistance (HEAP)
  • Lifeline
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Childcare Tax Credit
  • Earned Income Tax Credit

“United Way works to support both Tennesseans living in poverty, as well as ALICE (Asset, Limited, Income, Constrained, Employed) households – those who financially struggle to make ends meet. We want to ensure they are receiving their unclaimed benefits through Tennessee Benefit Kitchen so they can achieve greater financial stability,” said United Way of West Tennessee President and CEO Matt Marshall.

A news release says the staff at the Jackson Financial Empowerment Center, located at United way, along with its nonprofit partners, can assist those who need help completing the screening through a multi-language web application to identify and prepare for budget changes that may impact benefit eligibility.

Additionally, United Way is providing over 70 iPads to public libraries and senior centers across West Tennessee. These will serve as kiosks offering free, virtual access to resources on the 211 Hub.

United Way also says they will be offering in-person agency training sessions for any local nonprofits interested in becoming a United Way partner agency. According to a news release, all agencies who request funding are required to attend one of the four sessions, and only participating agencies will be eligible to apply for funding during the 2023-24 grant cycle.

Those sessions will be held at the following dates:

  • Tuesday, January 10: 2-4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, January 11: 9-11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, January 11: 2-4 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 12: 9-10 a.m.

A news release states applications can be filled out by local 501c3 health and human services organizations that serve individuals from United Way’s 15-county service area.

Email Matt Marshall at mmarshall@unitedwaytn.org by Friday, January 6 to reserve a spot at one of the sessions. An agency representative must attend the entire session to receive an application, and virtual options will also be provided.

Click here for more information on United Way of West Tennessee.

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Categories: Local News, Madison County, News