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Learn About Other Government Assistance Programs
Like the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, there are a variety of government assistance programs that provide financial relief for low-income individuals and families struggling to afford basic necessities.
Furthermore, there are programs that offer assistance to the elderly and disabled. For example, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides monthly assistance benefits for disabled individuals and seniors who cannot afford the costs of food, shelter and clothing on their own.
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Additionally, there is a program that offers affordable healthcare in a costly healthcare industry.
For those in need of housing assistance, Section 8 housing provides a housing subsidy to landlords on behalf of recipients.
This way, impoverished individuals, families, seniors and disabled persons can afford comfortable and safe homes in the private market.
On the other hand, those who cannot afford to purchase a sufficient amount of nutritious food for themselves and their families can apply for SNAP food stamps.
SNAP, otherwise known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, offers monthly food benefits to individuals and families in the form of a plastic card that can be used like a debit card at local grocery stores.
To learn more about these government programs and what they offer, read the following sections below.
Find Out About Financial Assistance Programs
Supplemental Security Income provides financial assistance to needy persons who are blind, disabled and elderly. Recipients of this program receive monthly financial benefits to cover the costs of basic needs.
Unlike other financial assistance programs, beneficiaries do not need to have current or prior employment to be eligible.
Instead, qualifications include having little to no income and not being confined to a prison. To receive benefits, eligible applicants must be comfortable with sharing their financial background by providing requested documentation.
These individuals can complete the application process online, by phone or in person at their local Social Security Office.
For those unemployed due to no fault of their own, the government offers unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. These benefits consist of financial assistance and resources to help recipients get back on their feet and find a secure, suitable job.
Beneficiaries must fulfill work search requirements, including actively looking and accepting fitting work. These work-search activities are recorded on weekly logs submitted by recipients to their appropriate office.
Work-searches are common ongoing eligibility requirements of TANF and other government programs, as these welfare systems are designed to be a temporary help.
While individuals can receive government assistance for a specific period of time, they must maintain these assistance benefits by filing timely biweekly claims. Recipients can file claims online or by phone at their state’s toll-free number.
Get Information About Health Care Benefits
The federal government also funds Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), two government health insurance programs that insure low-income individuals and families.
More specifically, Medicaid generally provides medical coverage for qualifying individuals who are low-income, elderly, disabled or pregnant. While the program is federally funded, it is operated and administered by the states.
This means that each state has its own unique eligibility requirements while meeting the standard requirements set out by the government. Furthermore, the government gives states the opportunity to provide optional health care services to eligible residents.
However, all states are required to administer a Medicaid program that covers basic affordable healthcare services. These include services such as primary care, rural health clinic services and nursing facility services.
Similar to Medicaid, CHIP provides essential health care services to its beneficiaries. This program is generally offered to qualifying families whose incomes are too high for Medicaid income limits but too low to afford private health insurance.
CHIP offers a variety of health care services to children, such as dental and vision care. In some states, the program offers prenatal care to pregnant women.
Individuals and families can apply to these government assistance programs in one of two ways: the health insurance marketplace and their state Medicaid agency.
Learn About SNAP Food Stamps
SNAP food stamps are available to qualifying families and individuals whose income falls below their state’s income limit for their household size. Recipients of this government assistance program receive food benefits each month in an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card.
This card can be used at local grocery stores, convenience stores and farmers markets.
However, it cannot be used to purchase certain foods and household items, such as pet food and cleaning supplies. When determining eligibility, an applicant’s income and expenses are taken into account.
Furthermore, the amount of benefits or allotment a recipient is eligible to receive is determined by the state and is dependent on his or her household size and net income. Applicants can apply for SNAP food benefits online at their state’s website, by phone or in person at their local SNAP office.
While each state has a different application form and process, many typically require a phone or in-person interview to determine eligibility. Similarly, many states combine welfare program applications like SNAP and TANF.
Learn About Government Housing Assistance
Section 8 housing is a government assistance program available to underprivileged individuals. The program offers housing vouchers to qualifying applicants so that they can afford decent and sanitary homes in the housing market.
These vouchers can be used at participating apartments, townhomes and single-family homes.
There are also apartments designed to accommodate the elderly and disabled, such as homes with wheelchair ramps and non-skid floors.
However, landlords do have the ability to deny or approve voucher recipients based on their financial history and credit scores. Additionally, these homes must meet Section 8 housing quality standards.
Low-income individuals interested in applying to receive mortgage or rental assistance must contact their local public housing agency.
In addition to government housing assistance, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) aids individuals and families who have trouble with energy-related costs.
More specifically, the program helps people with their utility payments to prevent their electricity and water from being shut off. LIHEAP also helps alleviate certain energy crisis depending on the state.
While some states define a crisis as a shut-off notice, others define a crisis as an instance of extreme hot or cold temperatures.
Additionally, the program offers financial assistance for minor home repairs or replacements that are energy-related. In order to receive assistance, these households must have specific incomes that do not exceed the program’s maximum limit.
Those interested in utility bill assistance can apply to LIHEAP by contacting their state’s LIHEAP office.