Assistance for Low Income Families: Getting the Help You Need
What if you and your family could gain access to life-changing financial support?
Millions of American families struggle to pay the bills and even put food on the table, but many people who qualify don’t realize that it’s possible to get assistance for low-income families from national governmental programs.
Of course, it’s tough to take advantage of these programs if you’re not already aware of them. That’s why we put together this introductory guide to getting the help you need.
Enrolling in SNAP
If you’re looking for assistance for low-income families, there are many different options available. One of the best ones is the SNAP program.
SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This is the program also known as Food Stamps, and it is designed to help make sure that you and your family get enough to eat each month.
If you’ve never used SNAP, the program is straightforward: once you apply and are approved, you will receive a benefits card, often called an EBT card. This card works similar to a debit card, and you can use it to buy food at designed grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and even dollar stores. You can even shop online!
SNAP helps to feed nearly 48 million people every month, and it remains one of the most important government programs to help provide food to families in need.
WIC Helps Parents
Are you a nursing mother, or do you have very young children in your home? In that case, you will want to explore the benefits of the WIC program.
This program is similar to SNAP but was designed specifically for women, infants, and children. It helps provide vouchers, education, and food to help pregnant women and children up to six years of age.
Though your child will eventually grow too old to take advantage of WIC benefits, they may still qualify for the Child Nutrition Program once they are old enough for school. This program can help your child qualify for free or reduced lunch while attending school based on your family income.
For low-income families, it can be very difficult to get proper healthcare. This fact is particularly scary because a lack of access to preventative care mean that small problems may turn into major health issues for you and your family.
That’s why it’s worth exploring Medicaid as an option to help protect your family. This program was designed to provide either free or low-cost healthcare options for those with little income. Medicaid helps to protect adults, pregnant women, children, seniors, and those with disabilities.
In terms of government programs, Medicaid is one of the most popular and most-used programs in the country, with one out of every five adults in the country relying on this program for their healthcare needs.
Understanding Housing Assistance
What is the largest bill you pay each month? No matter your income, the honest answer for most of us is the housing bill.
Whether you pay rent or have a mortgage, housing is likely to eat a huge chunk of your disposable income. And if this sounds familiar to you, you may wish to explore the different housing options available through HUD.
As a bonus, this program ensures that you won’t spend more than 30% of your income on housing. Given how housing prices are constantly rising, this is a great way to get affordable housing without cutting too far into your monthly budget.
While HUD mostly helps families rent affordable housing, the organization can also help you purchase a home. You can look into other programs such as Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help you pay for your utility bills throughout the year.
Your Affordable Care Act Options
Earlier we mentioned Medicaid as a viable option to help families with little income afford healthcare. When exploring different healthcare options, it’s important to look into what you may be eligible for via the Affordable Care Act.
The ACA offers different kinds of health insurance coverage via the Health Insurance Marketplace. Additionally, the ACA offers subsidies based on income that make health care accessible for millions of Americans. According to recent data, the ACA currently covers 31 million Americans.
If you don’t think you can afford coverage, the ACA and its subsidies may be your key to the healthcare and preventative care you deserve.
Benefits of the Child’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Some families may make too much money to take advantage of Medicaid but still find themselves in need. If you’re in this position and have children, your state’s CHIP program just may have the answer for your kids.
CHIP (or Child’s Health Insurance Program) is designed to provide free and low-cost medical care to uninsured children whose families are above the Medicaid limit but below their state’s CHIP limit. This program provides access to medical supplies, physician testing, and hospital care as well as many preventative care options such as dental care and eye exams.
If you qualify, your children can take advantage of CHIP until they are 19 years of age.
SSI and Disabilities
Different factors can negatively affect your ability to make money. For example, one or more parents being disabled for many families makes it hard to earn enough money to make it from month to month.
In addition to protecting adults and children with disabilities, the SSI also helps to protect seniors. If you have a senior living with you (such as your mother or father), then it’s worth taking a look at the regular support SSI can provide.
The Head Start Program
Do you have a child in your family that is under five years old? If the answer is “yes” and you qualify as a low-income family, then the Head Start program may be perfect for you.
This is a program that is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. It helps to provide nutrition as well as early childhood education to young children and their families.
As far as government programs designed to help children go, this is one of the most comprehensive programs available, which is why it helps out nearly one million children every year!
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
For better or for worse, we live in a very digital world where it’s almost impossible to do anything from sending in a job application to checking your child’s grades if you don’t have a reliable internet connection.
Unfortunately, the cost of the internet may be very high in your area. If you have to decide between having home internet or having enough to eat, then you’ll end up ditching the internet right away.
If your household qualifies, you can get free service and a one-time discount on a qualifying device such as a tablet.
Options for Education
When your family is struggling to pay the bills, starting or going back to school may be the last thing on your mind. However, almost any level of a college education can help to improve your job prospects. The trick, of course, is finding a way to afford classes!
If you or your children are interested in attending college, you will need to choose the schools you’re interested in, then fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. After you complete the FAFSA, the government will evaluate your income to decide what kind of financial aid they can offer through the school of your choice.
Part of this offer will include loans that you have to pay back, which may not be a good choice for your current financial situation. Depending on your income, however, part of the offer may also include Pell Grant money or other scholarships that you don’t have to pay back at all.
Pell Grant funding, combined with the EBB program, may allow you to take online courses at your own pace and eventually land a much better-paying job!
Assistance For Low-Income Families: Your Next Move
Now you can get started finding assistance for low-income families, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Other resources can also help your family be more comfortable each month. Explore these resources today to start saving money every month!
Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service
If you qualify for federal benefits such as Medicaid, you also qualify for Lifeline service. Lifeline is a federal benefit program that makes it possible for low-income consumers to receive access to free or heavily discounted communication services. Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.