The government of the United States has several assistance programs arranged to help those in need. These federal benefits give free money to support people with basics such as food, healthcare, and education. Other programs include help with safety and security, development, and general welfare.
Typically, the government targets these programs towards low-income groups and provides financial aid, while state governments ensure the benefits reach the applicants. It is important to know the details of these programs to understand which program meets your needs.
Do I Qualify for Free Government Benefits?
You may be eligible for government benefit or government assistance programs if your gross family income is at or below the federal poverty level. The is true even if someone in your family is working. You may also qualify if you are,
- a single mother
12 Government Benefit Programs That Give Free Money
Health is one of the priorities when it comes to basic needs. Medicaid, which is funded jointly by the federal and state governments. They provide healthcare coverage to eligible Americans. They cover a vast set of people including children, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and other adults.
In 2020, Medicaid had coverage of 70.6 million people all over the country. Depending on the enrollment, Medicaid provides healthcare coverage either free of cost or at a significantly low price. The federal government lays out the rule and provides the bulk of the finances. But it is down to the states to administer it among the eligible beneficiaries.
If you want to enroll in the program, contact your state’s Medicaid agency to go through the process. Here is a link that can assist.
This program geared towards child development and is catered to low-income groups. Children from such families are supported with early learning to make them school-ready. Early learning includes education through games, emotional readiness, basic mathematics and science, language skills.
The program also takes care of the basic health needs of these children, with health screening, nutritious meals, and access to healthcare services. It is not just the children but their parents get some benefits, too. The program focuses on parent-child bonding and provides financial, emotional, and societal aid to parents.
It is a program that is free for children of age up to 5 years. It is run by non-profit organizations within local communities and has a reach of more than a million children annually. To find out if you are eligible, contact your local Head Start Center. Alternately, you may call the number 1-866-763-6481 Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. ET.
Federal Pell Grant Program
Students from low-income families can benefit from the Federal Pell Grant Program, which provides financial aid for post-secondary education. The grant provided by the program is similar to a scholarship, in that it does not need to be repaid as opposed to a student loan.
The amount of grant that a student is eligible for is calculated based on the cost of attendance, the duration of the college or postbaccalaureate program, and the expected family contribution. If the student also has a job, their income and assets are taken into consideration before finalizing the grant amount.
At present, there are about 5400 participating institutions in the country that offer this grant to eligible students. if you have any questions, here is the phone number you may reach out to (800) 433-3243 or 800 4FED-AID. To apply for the program, you may fill the free application at this link.
Women Infants And Children (WIC)
The WIC is a program that caters to the special dietary needs of pregnant and breastfeeding women, and children up to the age of 5. The complete name of the benefits program is The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
This government assistance program aims to provide nutritious diets, dietary and health supplements, awareness drives around healthy eating and breastfeeding, and so on. It also provides qualifying people with access to health services.
It is run by the Food and Nutrition Service at both the national as well as state levels. To enroll in WIC, you may contact the concerned agency in your state. Here is a list of local agencies where you can sign up.
Child Care Subsidies
Child care is one of the heaviest expenses that many families struggle with, especially those with low income. To address this, the federal government issues assistance in the way of funding, to states to run their child care subsidy program. The program is also known as Vouchers and Fee Assistance. The program aims to ease the financial burden on families so that the children can attend school.
Quality child care is essential for children’s overall development. Every state has different criteria for enrollment in the program. Hence, you may want to check out the agencies that offer child care subsidies n your area.
Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
The goal of the WAP or Weatherization Assistance Program is to help low-income families lower their energy bills by modifying their homes and making them more energy-efficient. The authorities have the latest technologies at their disposal to convert these houses into low-energy homes. The program is funded by the US Department of Energy and is administered by individual state governments.
To reach out to the qualifying families, the state governments collaborate with local communities, non-profit organizations, and county-level government. To apply, your total household income must fall below a certain level, which is determined by the number of members in the household. Also, residents above 60, residents with a disability, and families with children are given preference.
Low Income Heating Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)
LIHEAP is another energy-saving benefits program that focuses on heating and cooling energy costs. Other areas of support include assistance with energy bill payment, energy-related repairs, handling energy crises, and weatherization.
To be eligible for this program, you should require assistance with energy bill payments and your household income must fall under a specified limit. You may get more help about applying to the program by contacting your state-level LIHEAP agency, as mentioned in the following link. You may also contact the toll-free number: 1-866-674-6327
Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF)
As the name mentions, this program is meant to help low-income families get back on their feet by providing for them temporarily. The federal government allows the states to run this program with flexibility. So, how much and what kind of help your family will be eligible for largely depends on where you live.
Most states provide cash every month to such families, while some state governments might assist with child care or training for jobs. The families must find a job within a stipulated time beyond which the cash support is withdrawn. Use the following link to find out more information about applying for TANF in your state. Find TANF in your state
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
SNAP is the largest food benefits program in the United States, run by the US Department of Agriculture. Through SNAP, eligible low-income families can put food on the table through pre-filled electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards.
These cards function like debit cards and can be used at designated food stores. The amount that a family receives on its SNAP card is decided according to the household size.
Although the program is funded by the federal government, to apply, you must visit one of the agencies in your state. You may go through this link to find the nearest SNAP office.
Child’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
CHIP is a separate program designed to help families who do not qualify for Medicaid. In short, if your family income falls above the threshold mentioned for Medicaid, you can still find out if your children could be covered under CHIP.
For other services, there may be a nominal copayment. CHIP coverage varies between states and may cover pregnant women in some states, too. But in general, CHIP is about providing preventive care as well as emergency care for your children.
CHIP Pays for,
- Routine doctor visits
- eye exams,
- medical supplies,
- dental visits all free of cost.
To find out whether your children are eligible for CHIP, you may visit the state-run health insurance agencies at the following link. Another way to apply for CHIP is to call 1-800-318-2596. government assistance program. Here is a link to more information
Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI)
The SSI is a federal benefit program to help low-income adults and children with disabilities buy necessities, such as food, clothes, and shelter. The government funds allocated to this program provide monthly payments in cash to eligible individuals.
Another category that may benefit from this program comprises seniors who are 65 years and older and fall in the low-income group. The seniors do not have to have any disabilities to apply for this program.
To enroll in this government assistance benefit program, you may visit the following website and file an online disability benefits application. Also, you may call the helpline at 1-800-772-1213. They also have a special number for those who have hearing disabilities, which is TTY 1-800-325-0778. For more information, visit: https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/ssi/
Subsidized Housing, Vouchers, Public Housing
The government issues housing choice vouchers to families in need of low-cost rented homes. Typically, Public Housing Agencies that moderate these vouchers pay the subsidized rent directly to the landlord. The tenant, who is entitled to the voucher, just pays the difference, if any.
Houses that are allotted under this program vary in categories, starting from townhouses to apartments, and families. They can choose the home they need, as long as the landlord agrees to rent it to them under the government program guidelines.
Some families may also be eligible to purchase a house at a subsidized rate. To know whether you qualify for subsidized housing, find your local Public Housing Agency from the following link.
You may also call the toll-free number 1-800-955-2232 for further information.
All of the above-mentioned government benefits programs from the fed. These programs are in place to ensure that low-income individuals and families. They can meet their basic needs, mainly those of food, housing, health, and education. Talk to your local agency for further information and ways to enroll. If you are eligible you can get the financial support you need.
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