On Your Own: Finding Benefits for a Low Income Single Person
Single people need benefits too!
Economic hardship doesn’t discriminate. Families and single people go through tough times all the same, and there are plenty of people who need access to benefits for a low-income single person.
The good news is that many of the programs available for families can work for individuals as well. But, there are a few areas where single individuals may need to find their way.
If you are a single person and don’t know where to turn for benefits, we’re going to go over information you need to know to get the resources you need.
We have a lot of information to share with you, so let’s dive in.
The first type of benefit we’ll discuss will be healthcare. It may be the most important, depending on your perspective.
There are a lot of options available for health benefits for a low-income single person. The two main options are Medicare and Medicaid.
Medicare and Medicaid
These two programs are programs sponsored by the Federal government. Medicare coverage comes in three different parts. Your plan can consist of either Part A, B, or D.
Medicare is typically available to people 65 and over. Traditional Medicare plans usually consist of Parts A & B and cover long-term care, hospice, and medical equipment. Part B will also cover other necessary medical services.
Part D isn’t included in every Medicare plan. You’ll have to do your research to see what’s offered by your State. Part D is the part of Medicare responsible for prescription drug coverage.
You’ll have to take inventory of what your most critical medical needs are. If you’re currently in good health, that may mean an emphasis on preventative care. That means you’re going to want to get things like regular doctor’s visits and descriptions covered by your benefits. If you are dealing with a chronic condition such as diabetes that requires regular medication, your prescription drug plan may be the most important need.
An option that low-income single Americans may have is Medicaid. Medicaid is for low-income individuals and families, and you do not need to be 65 or over if you otherwise qualify.
To qualify for the Medicaid program, you need to be a low-income individual, over 65, pregnant, or disabled. Eligibility depends on your age, income level, number of people in your family, and pregnancy or disability.
Medicaid and Medicare are both sponsored on the Federal level, but the application process takes place at the State level. Therefore, applicants should apply in the State where they are looking to receive benefits.
You must also be a resident of that State.
The Health Insurance Marketplace
Another excellent resource for low-income individuals seeking health benefits is the Health Insurance Marketplace. This is the online portal that is a part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Americans can log on to this portal and see what type of coverage they qualify for. The program aims at providing coverage to U.S. citizens who have no other opportunity for healthcare coverage. If you have the opportunity for coverage through a job or spouse’s job, you may not qualify.
The program works by providing Americans with tax rebates for health insurance coverage. The rebate you qualify for is based on your income level.
By logging on to the Marketplace, you’ll be able to see if you qualify for federal healthcare programs. This includes Medicare and Medicaid. You’ll also have access to health insurance options from private insurers that are the same types of plans you would get if you contacted those insurers directly with the added benefit of tax credit savings.
The Federal government mandates that these plans meet specific criteria. For example, plans on the Marketplace need to provide Americans with outpatient care, prescription drug coverage, and preventative care. They also need to provide coverage for lab procedures and emergency services.
Americans also receive mental health coverage, hospitalization coverage, pregnancy care, and rehab services through the Marketplace.
Depending on your rebate, these plans may cost more than Medicare or Medicaid benefits. However, they are still incredibly reasonable when compared to private health insurance coverage.
Living Expense Benefits
Another vital area where single Americans may need help in their daily living expenses. These are things like groceries and utilities. Again, there are several programs available to provide benefits in this category.
The SNAP Program
SNAP is a Federal government benefit program aimed at putting food on the table for low-income individuals. It used to be known to many as food stamps, but times have changed.
These benefits are distributed to individuals every month.
Only certain foods can be purchased with SNAP benefits. These foods are staples for a healthy diet. For example, vegetables, fruit, dairy, bread, and cereals can all be purchased with SNAP food stamps.
Individuals can also purchase protein sources like meat, poultry, and fish.
These benefits work by something known as EBT. EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer. This is a plastic card similar to a credit card.
SNAP benefits are loaded onto the card every month for eligible recipients. Members of the program can then use their benefits by swiping the card wherever EBT is accepted.
You can easily find a list of authorized SNAP grocery stores by searching online. These EBT benefits are also valid at select farmer’s markets. You can also find out if farmer’s markets in your area accept these benefits by searching online.
Some states offer online portals for checking your SNAP benefits. If your State doesn’t have this option, you can always check the status or amount of your benefits by contacting your local SNAP office.
Eligibility for the SNAP program varies from State to State. Your State will have specific requirements you must meet to receive benefits from the program. These criteria will factor in your income level, as well as other resources you may have.
Your local SNAP office may look at other things besides your income when you apply. Of course, your income is a factor, but they may also consider other resources. An example of these resources would be money that you have in your bank account.
Once your State approves you for snap benefits, you’ll receive benefits retroactively. They will fund your EBT account with benefits dating back to the date of your initial application.
The TANF Program
TANF benefits can be a great source of income for low-income families. But, the TANF program can also provide benefits for a low-income single person.
These benefits can be used for a wide variety of goods and services. For example, members of the TANF program can use these resources to purchase food, housing, and job training. They can also use this money to cover utilities such as their home energy bill.
Like most programs, TANF is federally-funded but managed on the state level. As a result, the TANF program may have a different name dependStaten which State you’re in. It may also provide slightly different benefits.
If you live in a Tribal community, you may want to check with your tribe. In addition, specific Tribal communities within the U.S. offer their version of the TANF program.
To qualify for TANF, you must be a resident of the state where you’re applying. Each state or Tribal territory will have its eligibility criteria for the TANF program.
Housing Benefits for A Low-Income Single Person
Low-income single people also have programs they can leverage for housing benefits—one of the most effective housing programs available in the Section 8 voucher program.
Individuals need to apply with their local state government to get on the Section 8 voucher list. Once approved for a voucher, recipients go on a wait list for properties.
Depending on the area, there may be a significant waiting period before you get the opportunity to move into a Section 8 property. But, it’s well worth the wait.
The federal government uses the Section 8 program to ensure low-income individuals are getting safe, secure housing. They have protections in place and criteria landlords need to meet for their properties to be included in Section 8.
This is a way for the federal government to keep “slumlords” out of the program. It also ensures that low-income individuals have just as lovely a place to live as anybody else.
The Section 8 criteria and application process may vary depending on your State. You can contact your state housing agencies for more information on the program.
Get the Help You Need
These are just a handful of the government programs that provide benefits for a low-income single person. The good news is that when you qualify for certain benefits, you may find that you also qualify for others.
Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service
If you qualify for federal benefits such as SNAP, 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.