The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in Arizona is a federal program that provides families, individuals, low-income senior citizens and those who are homeless with food assistance. The state bases TEFAP eligibility on a household’s total gross income. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) buys nutritious foods and supplies the food distribution sites via state distributing agencies. The federal government supplies states with an amount of food determined by the number of people exhibiting eligibility for emergency nutrition assistance, such as low-income and unemployed Arizonians. Low-income households can learn how to apply for emergency food assistance successfully if their income amounts are below the Arizona poverty level. Local agencies distribute food through federal-approved food pantries and food banks, which then distribute the food to soup kitchens and other organizations. TEFAP also distributes food to community agencies and other local entities that, in turn, distribute the food directly to households with eligible total gross household incomes, based on the number of members within the households. Learn more about emergency SNAP benefits by reviewing the sections outlined below.

TEFAP Eligibility in Arizona

The state mandates eligibility for emergency food assistance in Arizona, though TEFAP is a federally funded program. The local food distributors determine eligibility for TEFAP based on the household’s total gross income in relation to the state poverty level, but the state has the right to adjust the low-income level marks that recipients must hit to receive AZ emergency SNAP benefits for food. This ensures that the local food banks distribute the available food supply to those most in need. Food distribution sites may only serve food to those residents of Arizona who qualify. Federal regulations require that all TEFAP food distribution sites serve food based on recipients’ total gross incomes and a sliding scale that increases as the number of members living in the household increases. The total gross income of the household and the number of members of the household are the main determining factors of TEFAP eligibility in AZ. To learn more about the current TEFAP eligibility requirements, download our free and informative guide.

Benefits of Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in Arizona

When you apply for emergency food assistance in Arizona, you are applying for free food supplements from a state-designated emergency feeding organization that operates near to you. These are food pantries or food banks. At these locations, you will receive actual food to take home and prepare for your household. AZ TEFAP eligibility also entitles you to receive meals prepared at local food distribution sites that participate in the TEFAP program, such as soup kitchens. Learn more about Arizona TEFAP benefits by downloading our complimentary guide.

TEFAP Qualifications vs. SNAP Eligibility

TEFAP eligibility in Arizona is not exactly related to eligibility for SNAP benefits. The two programs are different initiatives. The difference in the two programs is the way in which recipients receive benefits. Local food assistance agencies and organizations distribute AZ Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) benefits (food) directly to qualified recipients and households. The USDA also extends TEFAP monetary assistance to agencies and organizations that prepare and serve ready-to-eat meals to those in need. The federal government, however, allocates SNAP benefits via an electronic benefit transfer card (EBT) that recipients use like a debit card to purchase food, themselves, from a grocery store or other participating retail food stores, such as a gas stations or convenience stores that accept EBT as a form of payment.

Arizona TEFAP eligibility requirements are also substantially different from the low-income eligibility marks SNAP benefits require. In fact, there is great leeway for states to define eligibility for SNAP recipients, and they consider multiple factors. TEFAP eligibility, on the other hand, is much less lenient, and is based solely on the income of the household. In addition, qualifying for TEFAP does not mean receiving funds, electronic monetary benefits or cash equivalents to benefit recipients. Rather, the TEFAP program strictly distributes actual food items or prepared food meals only. Some recipients who qualify for one food assistance program may automatically qualify for the other. To learn more about obtaining TEFAP emergency food assistance, download our informative guide.

Where do TEFAP benefits come from?

Benefits for TEFAP come from state food banks, which serve four main regions of Arizona. Each Arizona county falls under the umbrella of one of these four regions and its associated food bank. The Federal government provides funds for these organizations to purchase USDA-approved food that is distributed to the TEFAP-qualified beneficiaries in need of emergency SNAP food assistance. The federal government also provides funds to these organizations to cover the costs of administration, storage and the distribution of food.



What Kind of Assistance Does the Arizona Family Assistance Services Department Offer?

The state of Arizona can assist eligible families with services such as food assistance or temporary cash assistance. To assess your eligibility, you must fill out an application and provide the required documents. To learn all of the details needed to prepare for this application process, download our comprehensive guide today.


Who Is Eligible To Benefit From the Arizona Family Assistance Services?

Eligible low-income families or individuals in Arizona can benefit from programs offered by the Family Assistance Services Department. Temporary financial assistance or Nutrition Assistance services are available to those who qualify upon filing an application. To find out if your family is eligible for these benefits, download our guide now.