In the US, there are millions of families that are in absolute poverty state. These Destitution families can hardly afford basic needs in life: water, nutrition, education, shelter, and clothing. The state of these families even worsened after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic as many families lost their jobs and businesses. To help such families, the government offers benefits and subsidies through public assistance programs. These programs offer subsidies for food, health, education, communication, and shelter among others. Are you a financially strained individual who needs to access benefits from the government assistance program? Keep reading and know how to go about it.
What Are Government Assistance Programs?
Government assistance programs are meant to offer funds, schemes or benefits to help low-income households in the US and protect them from poverty. Basically, these programs are government subsidies with a mission of offsetting the cost of basic needs for families that are struggling financially. This gives low-income households ample time to concentrate on their growth, safety, and health and security development.
For government assistance programs to function, the federal government offers the much-needed financing while the state government administers them to qualified recipients. Fortunately, several government assistance programs exist to ensure low-income households are able to meet their basic needs. Some of these programs offer health benefits, access to cheap and affordable housing, access to discounted communication and connection and easy access to healthy food.
How Do I Enroll for Government Assistance Program?
As we have stated, there are several government assistance programs with distinct benefits for low-income households. The process of enrolling for these programs depends on the specific program. However, you should first ensure you are from a low income household and meet other eligibility requirements before starting the application.
Basically, the process of enrolling for a government assistance program entails:
- Ensure you qualify for the program
- Visit your program’s official website, local or state offices and start your application as instructed.
- Attach or provide all eligibility documents needed.
Who Qualifies for Government Assistance Program?
As stated, government assistance program are meant to help low-income households to afford basic needs. Therefore, you must be a low-income household with an income below a certain percentage of the federal poverty level to qualify for government assistance programs. Note that different programs have different income limit. For instance, to qualify for government assistance programs like lifeline, you must have an income limit equal to or below 135% of the federal poverty guideline. To qualify for ACP program, you should have an income equal to or less than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, while SNAP requires an income less or equal to 130% of the federal poverty guideline.
In addition, some government assistance programs require you to be a Citizen of the United States before qualifying for the government assistance program. Other programs have different requirements based on your state and household size, while others require you to be at a certain age to qualify for their benefits.
Top 5 Government Assistance Programs
In this section, we will have a brief look at various government assistance programs, how to apply and eligibility requirements:
This is a state or federal health assistance program that helps low-income families with free or cheap medical benefits. To receive Medicaid benefits, you should be a pregnant woman, a child and elderly above 65 years, disabled or low income adults. To apply for Medicaid, you can contact your state Medicaid agency or apply online through the health insurance marketplace
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is another federal government assistance program that offers nutrition subsidies to eligible households. The program offers monthly benefits to purchase healthy foods for free or at a lower price. To receive supplemental nutrition assistance program, you should have a total income at or below 130% of the federal poverty guideline.
Once you qualify, you get subsidies on fruits and vegetables, dairy products and cereals, meat, poultry or fish. To apply for SNAP benefits, you can visit any local or state SNAP office. Note that every state has its own application form.
Temporary Assistance For Needy Families or TANF
TANF is a federal program that offers limited-time cash or non-cash benefits to low income families to access cheaper food, home energy, child care, housing or job training. To qualify for this program, however, you must be a Native American or American Indian, be unemployed or live on an Indian reservation.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program is another amazing government assistance program that helps low-income households, disabled, or the elderly to afford the cost of home energy bills, minor energy home repairs, energy crises, weatherization, and so on.
Affordable Connectivity Program
ACP is another incredible government assistance program that offers free or discounted internet services to low-income households. This program offers these discounts through eligible service providers. You must have an income below 200% of the federal poverty guideline before benefiting from this program. After qualifying for the program, you will access the internet or connect to your loved ones at a low price.
Other examples of government assistance programs
- Supplemental security income program
- Head start
- Federal Pell grant program
- Food distribution program on Indian reservations
- Special supplemental program for women, infants, and children or WIC
- Federal public housing assistance or FPHA
- Veterans pension and survivors benefit
- Free and reduced-price school lunch program or school breakfast program
How To Avoid Scams When Applying For Government Assistance Programs
Scams and fraudulent cases are on the rise. In fact, con artists use almost a similar script to access government assistance programs. Below are precautions to take and avoid scams when applying for government assistance program:
- Don’t give out any of your bank account information to anyone.
- Don’t pay any fee when applying for government assistance programs.
- Always make sure that the caller is an authorized government assistance agency through the USA.gov site.