About the Debtor Library


Completing a Chapter 13 plan can be challenging. If you're struggling to make your plan payments, contact your attorney immediately to understand your options.

This section may also help. It provides a library of resources available in this district and financial information that you may find useful. We hope you find it helpful.

Note: Our goal is to provide accurate, current, and useful content on this site, but the Trustee cannot provide any guarantees. Please verify any information you obtain here before relying on it. The Trustee does not intend anything on this site as an endorsement of any person, organization, product, or web site. Similarly, the Trustee cannot provide you legal advice, and none of the information on this web site is intended as legal advice.

Income Assistance


For People with Limited Resources

Supplemental Social Security (SSI). Federal income supplement program for people with very limited resources who are aged 65 or over, blind, or disabled. Other eligibility criteria also apply. Information and eligibility details here.

Families First: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Program that provides temporary cash assistance, transportation, childcare assistance, educational supports, job training, employment activities, and other support services. Information and eligibility details here.

For People with Disabilities

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Federal government programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. Details here.

Private Disability Insurance. Find information about private disability insurance here and here.

For People Temporarily Out of Work or Injured at Work

Unemployment Insurance. Temporary benefits for people unemployed through no fault of their own, who are able, available, and looking for work. Information and eligibility details
here.

Workers' compensation. Assistance to cover medical expenses and lost income from a work-related injury. Information and eligibility details here. Tips for navigating Tennessee's workers' comp system here.

For Childcare Workers


Child Care WAGE$. A state program that provides supplemental income to early childhood educators based on their education and continuity of employment. Information and eligibility details here and here.

Housing and Utilities Assistance



Mortgage and Property Tax Assistance

Homeowner's Assistance Fund. (Temporary/covid related) Financial assistance up to $40,000 per household for mortgage payments and other housing-related costs. See here for information on the Tennessee program. More information is also available from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau here.
  • IMPORTANT: Speak to your bankruptcy attorney first. Be sure you understand how this program might work with your bankruptcy case.

Mortgage loan modification, deferral, and forbearance. General information here.
  • IMPORTANT: Speak to your bankruptcy attorney first. Be sure you understand how any agreement with your lender might work with your bankruptcy case.

Property tax assistance.
  • State Tax Relief Program. Tennessee program that reimburses low-income elderly or disabled homeowners for property taxes paid. Information and eligibility details here.
  • Property tax freeze. State law allows local jurisdictions to offer property tax freezes for taxpayers 65 years or older. Income limits apply. Information and other eligibility details here.
Rental Assistance

Emergency Rental Assistance. (Temporary/covid related) Funds for up to 18 months back rent (and other assistance).Find application information here. Find more information about the program here.
  • IMPORTANT: Speak to your bankruptcy attorney first. Be sure you understand how this program might work with your bankruptcy case.


Subsidized housing and public housing

Find information here

Utility Assistance

Energy assistance

Phone/Internet assistance.
  • Broadband assistance. The Affordable Connectivity Program (Federal) provides a discount of up to $30/month on broadband service (eligibility based on income or participation in certain federal assistance programs). Information here.
  • Phone assistance. SafeLink Wireless provides free mobile service (eligibility based on income or participation in certain federal assistance programs). Information here.
Homeownership (Home Buying) Assistance

Find information here.

Food Resources


Government Food Assistance Programs

SNAP (Food stamps). The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides money each month for food for people with limited resources. The money comes on a benefit card that can be used to purchase certain grocery items. Information and eligibility details here and here.
  • Need help applying? Second Harvest may be able to help you apply. Information here
  • More information about SNAP here.

WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children). WIC provides money each month to purchase certain grocery and pharmacy items to assist low-income pregnant women, infants, and children under the age of five. WIC also provides nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to other health, welfare, and community-based services. Information and eligibility details here and here.

Summer Food Service Program. Free meals for children through the summer. Information here.

Food Banks and Free Grocery Stores

Food Banks and Directories

Children


Childcare

Childcare Payment Assistance (Smart Steps). Payment assistance for childcare expenses. Information and eligibility details here.

Voluntary Pre-K Program. State-funded Pre-K classes are available in many Tennessee school districts. Information here and here.

Health Insurance for Children and Pregnant Women

TennCare Kids. TennCare Kids is a full program of checkups and health care services for children from birth through age 20 who have TennCare. Information here.

CoverKids. For children and pregnant women who do not have TennCare, CoverKids may help. It provides free, comprehensive health coverage for qualifying children age 18 and younger and pregnant women. Information here.

Food and Nutrition Assistance for Children and Pregnant Women

WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children). WIC provides money each month to purchase certain grocery and pharmacy items to assist low-income pregnant women, infants, and children under the age of five. WIC also provides nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to other health, welfare, and community-based services. Information and eligibility details here and here.

Summer Food Service Program. Free meals for children through the summer. Information here.

Free Books for Young Kids

Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Every child in Tennessee, from birth to age five, is eligible to receive a free book in the mail each month, addressed to the child. Sign up and find more information here.

Health Expenses and Bills


Free, Low-Cost, or Sliding-Scale Medical Clinics Find a list of affordable healthcare options from the Tennessee Justice Center here.

Find directories of free/low cost/sliding scale clinics (health, dental, mental health, substance abuse) from NeedyMeds
here.

Prescription Drugs

Government assistance. CoverRx is a state program that assists low-income people with prescription drug expenses. Information and eligibility details here.

Private programs. Pharmaceutical companies have programs to provide free or discounted medicines to people who are unable to afford them called Prescription Drug Assistance Programs (PAPs). Information here.

Low-cost options may be available for some drugs, especially generics. The Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company offers drugs at cost plus transparent markups. Walmart has a list of generic drugs available at very low cost.

Additional resources. Find information on the Tennessee Justice Center list about other programs, like the Publix Medication Program, GoodRX, Tennessee Drug Card, and the Medicine Assistance Tool.

Medical Bills During Chapter 13

Note that most confirmed Chapter 13 plans in this district prohibit debtors from incurring new debt without court approval, other than debt for emergency medical or hospital care. For more information, see here.

If you do incur new medical debt, financial assistance or relief may be available (especially for bills from nonprofit hospitals). Information here.

Surprise Medical Bills

Federal law now protects against some surprise medical bills. Information here .

Health Insurance


Help Finding and Applying for Insurance

Get help applying for health insurance here. Free assistance is available.

Help Affording Insurance

Subsidies from the Affordable Care Act. Health insurance purchased through www.healthcare.gov may be more affordable than you think if you are eligible for a subsidy. Get a cost estimate here.

If your income is low, be aware of the coverage gap when you estimate what you will make for the year. It may be surprising, but subsidies are not available if your income is too low. Find more information about estimating income here.

Public insurance for people with low income who meet other rules. TennCare (Tennessee's Medicaid program) is a public health insurance program available to people in certain eligibility categories. Information and eligibility details
here.

Children and Pregnant Women

TennCare (Tennessee's Medicaid program). Children and pregnant women with limited resources may be eligible for public health insurance through TennCare. Information and eligibility details here.

TennCare Kids. TennCare Kids is a full program of checkups and health care services for children from birth through age 20 who have TennCare. Information here.

CoverKids. For children and pregnant women who do not have TennCare, CoverKids may help. It provides free, comprehensive health coverage for qualifying children age 18 and younger and pregnant women. Information and eligibility details here.

Older People and Others with Long-Term Care Needs

Medicare. Federal health insurance for people 65 and older (or a disability or certain illnesses). Information here.

CHOICES. Long term services and support for people with limited resources. Information and eligibility details here.

Other Health Insurance Resources and Information

Resources for public health benefits. The Tennessee Justice Center works for policy changes but also represents and advises individuals seeking public health benefits, like TennCare. Information here.

Information about the health insurance marketplace and subsidies for private insurance. Detailed information about the health insurance marketplace in Tennessee is available here.

Other Insurance


Life Insurance

General information here.

Disability Insurance

Many people are not well insured for the risk of a disability. Find information about disability insurance here and here.

Taxes


Free Preparation

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). Free basic tax return preparation for eligible taxpayers, including:
  • People who generally make $58,000 or less;
  • Persons with disabilities; and
  • Limited English-speaking taxpayers.
Information here.

Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE). Free tax help for people 60 years of age and older. The program specializes in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues. Information here.

Free Access to Tax Preparation Software

FreeFile. Free access to tax preparation software is available for taxpayers with adjusted gross income below a certain level ($73,000 for the 2021 tax year). Information here.

Instant refunds and paying for tax preparation from a refund

Most options for obtaining tax refunds quicker or paying for tax preparation out of refunds involve fees and costs. Information here .

Student Loans


Bankruptcy Discharge of Student Loans

A bankruptcy discharge does not automatically apply to most student loans, but it is possible to request a discharge by a separate action. Information here.

Note that some private loans for educational purposes can be discharged without the additional steps. Information here.

Nonbankruptcy Discharge of Student Loans

Finding information about your student loans. The first question for student loan relief options is often to determine what kinds of loan(s) you have. For example, most of the relief options described below are available only for federal loans. If you're not sure what kind of loans you have, a good place to start is the Department of Education's StudentAid.gov site. Log into your account or create a new one here. The account provides information on federal loans including balances and types of loans. Any student loan not listed in this account is likely a private loan.

One-time Federal Student Loan Debt Relief. The Department of Education launched a program to provide a full or partial discharge of federal loans up to $20,000 to eligible borrowers. The program is currently blocked by court orders, but the Department is seeking to overturn the orders. Find information here.

Income Driven Repayment (IDR) Plans. For federal student loans, a borrower can request a payment plan based income. After repayment over a certain period, the balance of the debt will be forgiven (though the forgiven amount may be subject to taxation). Information here.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. For borrowers who work in public service (like government employees and certain employees of nonprofit organizations), loan forgiveness is available after just 10 years of qualifying payments under certain IDR plans. The forgiven debt is not subject to taxation. Details
here. The Education Department has created a help tool to guide borrowers. Find it here.

Disability discharge. Borrowers who become totally and permanently disabled may qualify for a full discharge of federal student loan debt. Information here.

Closed school discharge. Borrowers may qualify for a discharge of certain student loans if they are unable to complete a program because of a school closure. Information here.

Help Paying Student Loans

Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program. Federal program that pays up to 85% of unpaid nursing education debt for nurses working in qualifying jobs. Information and eligibility details here.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. Forgiveness of up to $17,500 of certain types of student loans if a borrower teaches for five complete and consecutive years in a low-income school or educational services agency and meets other qualifications. Information and eligibility details
here.

Budgeting and Cost-Cutting


Budgeting

Make a Budget. Find a budget worksheet here. If you need help, the Trustee's Financial Counselor can provide personalized assistance. To schedule an appointment, contact the Trustee's Office at 615-244-1101.

Stick to Your Budget. Keeping track of your budget during the month can be challenging. One method to simplify the process is called the Envelope System. Find information about it here.

Savings Challenge. Try the 52-Week Savings Challenge to build up savings over the year. Find information about it here.

Free Stuff

Free Stores. Stores with free items for eligible shoppers:
Free Books for Young Kids (Dolly Parton Imagination Library). Every child in Tennessee, from birth to age five, is eligible to receive a free book in the mail each month, addressed to the child. Sign up and find more information here.

Libraries. Don't forget the library! Many libraries lend out a lot more than just books. The Nashville Public Library, for example, offers access to digital materials, like e-books, and digital magazines; laptops and hotspots; and even bikes and passes to some area attractions.

Be Aware of Fees and Interest

Compare Bank Fees. Compare bank policies on overdraft and insufficient funds here.

Credit Reports


Bankruptcy and Credit Scores
  • Find information on how bankruptcy affects your credit score here.
  • Find information about improving your credit score after a bankruptcy filing here.
Free Annual Credit Report
The credit bureaus must provide you a free copy of your credit reports once every year. General information here.

Correcting Inaccurate Information on Credit Reports

Federal law provides a procedure for challenging inaccurate information on your credit report. Information here.

Rental Application Denied?

Tenant screening report. Federal law requires a landlord to inform a potential tenant if information on a tenant screening report causes the landlord to deny a rental application. Information here.

Credit Repair

Do not be misled by paid credit repair services. Information here.

Understand the factors that affect your credit score. Information on how to get and keep a good credit score here.

More Information on Credit Reports

General information here. Advice on how to review credit reports here.

Job Resources


Job Boards

Jobs4TN. Job board maintained by the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development.

Covid Related Assistance


Homeowner's Assistance Fund. Financial assistance up to $40,000 per household for mortgage payments and other housing-related costs. See here for information on the Tennessee program. More information is also available from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau here.
    IMPORTANT: Speak to your bankruptcy attorney first. Be sure you understand how this program might work with your bankruptcy case.

Emergency Rental Assistance. (Temporary/covid related) Funds for up to 18 months back rent.(and other assistance).Find application information here. Find more information here.
    IMPORTANT: Speak to your bankruptcy attorney first. Be sure you understand how this program might work with your bankruptcy case.

COVID Toolkit. Information here.

COVID Rapid Tests. If you have insurance, it may cover the cost of at-home rapid tests for Covid-19. (Tip: The pharmacy counter may be able to run the insurance at checkout to avoid any upfront cost.) Find more information here..

Funeral expenses. Assistance up to $9,000 may be available to cover funeral expenses for a death caused by COVID-19. Information here.

Other Resource Libraries


Directories Maintained by Government Agencies
  • Federal Benefits Finder. Online tool available here.
  • Directory of major federal assistance programs. Available here.
  • Tennessee Dept of Human Services. Information here.
  • Resource list compiled by TennCare Department available here.
Directories Maintained by Private Organizations