The US government has many financial assistance programs to help low-income families meet their basic needs. The welfare and safety net programs protect the interest of low-income families in adverse conditions. You are here means you need financial assistance to support your expenses and provide your family the deserved education and healthcare. We will cover all the possible assistance programs in the following. You can go through them to find a program that supports your unique condition.
A wide range of government financial assistance programs are available for low-income families. The objective of each is to help people meet their basic needs. They focus on health, safety, education, growth, development, and security. All these programs will have some specific eligibility requirements. You can apply only when you meet the required criteria.
Federal financial assistance programs come in eight categories. These are financial, healthcare, food, homeownership, home rental, small business, taxes, and retirement assistance programs. The federal government offers some assistance programs and works as a partner in others. These programs are available for families, businesses, and individuals. Keep reading to know more about them.
1. General Financial Assistance
You can get this assistance as goods, services, or payments to support your basic expenses. But you will have to meet the eligibility criteria. Here are the available financial assistance programs.
Low Wage Assistance Program ( LWA)
LWA is a federal-state program that helps with unemployment benefits. LWA was the response of the government to the Covid pandemic. FEMA administers this program and covers territories, states, and the District of Columbia. The objective is to address the unemployment caused by the immediate impact of Covid-19. The benefit of this program is that you will receive partial wages until your subsequent employment. You can apply for this financial benefit and pursue your training to get better job opportunities. However, you will get benefits only for 26 weeks.
The program will have some pre-conditions and specific eligibility criteria. You can only receive this assistance if you have received the benefits of the PUA of a minimum of $100. Besides, the territory, state, or district will determine your eligibility criteria. Apart from that, you will have to self-certify that you are partially and fully unemployed during the pandemic. Once approved, you will receive the fund automatically. Also, you might need to file a claim to get assistance.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
TANF is a federally funded welfare program designed to offer temporary relief to families that experience a financial crisis. Qualified families can receive food, home energy, housing, job training, and child care. However, you must engage in some state work activity to get this benefit. Each state will have different eligibility criteria for this program. You can visit the office and find contact information to apply for this benefit.
You can get other government welfare benefits even if you qualify for this program. This program does not disqualify you from other government programs. The benefit of this program is that you can support your child’s healthcare and meet emergency needs.
Social Security Disability Insurance
SSDI benefits can help those who cannot work for a minimum of one year due to health issues. You can also get this benefit when there is a possibility of dying from that health condition. However, you will be eligible for this program if your job has social security coverage and meets the social security disability definition. Also, you need to work enough to qualify for disability benefits. Check the eligibility criteria and apply online if you meet them. The benefits are you will have increased monthly and tax-free income.
Supplemental Security Income
SSI is a federal income program but not supported and funded by Social Security. The objective of this program is to offer basic needs to the blind, disabled, or older Americans with little or no income. The program provides monthly payments to qualified recipients to support the expenses of clothing, food, and shelter. Also, it can enable them to qualify for food stamps and Medicaid coverage.
For qualifications, you must be sixty-five or older and disabled or blind. Some other requirements are limited income and resources. You will get this benefit from the federal government. Also, it does not require any prior work history and might qualify you for social security benefits.
Student Financial Aid
Student Finacial Aid provides scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and student loans. You can visit FAFSA and inquire about the type of aid you can get to support your education. These programs offer financial assistance to those college students who cannot pursue their education due to economic conditions. However, there will be some eligibility requirements. Some considerations are financial condition, good standing on student loans, acceptance into some degree program, and satisfying academic growth. The benefits are you will get support to pay your college fee, attend better colleges, and create a good credit score with regular payments.
Affordable Connectivity Program
ACP is the replacement and extension of the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. However, this program provides a maximum discount of $30 on your broadband services. You will get a monthly reduction on your payment. But people on tribal lands can expect a maximum benefit of $75. Also, it offers a one-time reduction of $100 when buying a new laptop, tablet, or desktop from eligible providers. However, your household income must be below or at 200% of the FPL( Federal Poverty Level) to get this benefit. Besides, one of your family members must meet the eligibility criteria of the low-income internet program.
Another eligibility requirement is participation in the National School Breakfast Program, SSI, SNAP, Medicaid, The National School Lunch Program, LIfeline, WIC, Federal Public Housing Assistance, or Veteran Pension or Survivor Benefits. You can visit the ACP website to apply for this benefit. It will enable you to support the expenses of the broadband cost.
2. Subsidized Rental Housing
The Subsidized Rental Housing will have three forms. These are the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV), privately owned subsidizing housing, and Housing and Urban Development public housing. With the Housing Choice Voucher program, you will have to find your house or apartment, and then you can get the qualified amount from the government to support the expenses. However, you must find a suitable house, and then you can apply at the rental office under the privately-owned housing program. The HUD public housing is different from the above. Families consider this benefit when they do not qualify under section 8 housing. It will require renting from the local public housing authority.
The eligibility criteria will vary depending on the program. For privately owned subsidized housing, there will be an income limit. The size of your family and your location will decide the income limit. Also, you will have to meet the requirements determined by the property owner. For the HUD public housing or housing voucher, you or your family must be a senior citizen or have some disability issues. Besides, you must follow the income limit. Another requirement is US citizenship or an eligible non-citizen.
You will have to visit the rental office for the privately owned housing. But there will be separate provisions for the other two programs. You can contact your local Public Housing Agency and fill out the application form with your income, employer, bank, and family size information. Also, you will have to provide some documentation, including tax returns, birth certificates, or photo IDs. The benefit of Subsidized Rental Housing is that you can get houses at a rent below the market price.
3. Homeownership Programs
You will have many homeownership programs under the HUD. However, all the programs will have specific eligibility requirements. You can check the eligibility criteria to know whether you meet one.
Federal Housing Administration or FHA is a part of the HUD that provides mortgages to interested home buyers to buy a house. The best part is that it has flexible eligibility criteria, and you might meet them. First-time home buyers consider this program, but it can help all those who want to buy homes but have a limited budget to support it.
It will have different eligibility requirements. The eligibility will depend on the ability to make a down payment of 3.5% of the price. Also, the credit score must be at least 580, and you will have to ensure that the cost of the home is within the FHA loan limit, depending on your location. However, you will have to contact an approved FHA lender to apply for this loan since FHA does not have a provision for lending money. When you can pay a ten to fifteen percent down payment and have a good credit score, you can consider a conventional loan that you will find less expensive than an FHA loan.
Homeownership voucher is another program that low-income families can consider to have their own house. This program enables low-income families in the HCV to use their vouchers to make monthly mortgage payments. You can also use them for other expenses while buying your home for the first time. You can contact the local PHA to know the benefits and whether you qualify for one.
Active-Duty Service Members and Veterans Assistance Programs
The VA (the Department of Veteran Affairs) provides home loan benefits to active-duty surviving members, veterans, and surviving spouses. Private lenders offer these loans, but VA guarantees a significant portion of that loan. However, you will need a certificate of eligibility to apply for this loan through the VA.
The benefit of homeownership programs is that you can have a house with no or low down payment. Also, the credit score requirement will be low, and you can get financial assistance with poor credit. Moreover, it will not require mortgage insurance if you consider the VA program. These programs can offer the most help to first-time home buyers. They will get support to make payments and buy their first home.
4. Food Programs
The federal government has a few programs to offer nutrition assistance to low-income families. These programs provide free and low-cost food to individuals and families. Here are some programs that can meet the emergency food needs of low-income individuals and families.
You can consider dialing the National Hunger Hotline if you need food urgently. You can call 866-3-HUNGRY (866-348-6479), speak Spanish or English, and share your eligibility status. You will have to meet some eligibility criteria to get the benefits of this program, like the programs mentioned above. If you meet them, call the hotline. It will connect you with government programs, social service agencies, and food providers. Most are available from Monday to Friday, and you can get emergency food assistance.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
SNAP can support low-income families to have food within their budget. The eligibility requirements will vary based on the state. You can contact your state agency, inquire about the eligibility criteria, and apply if you meet them. When some states accept online applications, others might require your presence.
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) provides special supplemental aid to young children and women of low-income families. Also, this specific program includes nutrition counseling, healthy food, social services, welfare, and referral to health. It is a federal program that government runs through eighty-nine agencies and around 47,000 WIC retailers. However, it will have some unique eligibility criteria. Applicants must be pregnant, nursing, or postpartum with infants or children under five to get this benefit. There will be some other requirements as well.
There will be few programs to support the nutrition of school-aged children. You will have the School Breakfast Program, the Summer Food Service Program, and National School Lunch Program. However, all the programs will have similar eligibility requirements. If the family income is below 130% of the federal poverty guidelines, the kids of that family will get free food. However, when the earning is between 130% and 185%, you will have to spend less on meals.
There are also federal programs for low-income seniors. SFMNP provides coupons to seniors to buy vegetables, fresh fruits, herbs, and honey at farms, roadside stands, and farmer’s markets. Seniors can also consider the CSFP program to get healthy food every month. However, both programs will have some income limits. The benefits of food programs are that women, infants, and seniors can access nutritious foods at low or no cost.
5. Healthcare Programs
There are five main healthcare government programs to help low-income families. These programs provide healthcare coverage to older Americans, low-income families, veterans, children, and those who lost their jobs recently.
These five programs are Medicare, ACA Health Insurance Marketplace, Veterans Administration Healthcare, and COBRA. However, Medicare has four parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. All will have specific benefits. The ACA Health Insurance Marketplace offers insurance coverage to uninsured Americans. The Veterans Administration Healthcare program primarily assists military veterans or former members. COBRA is a different healthcare benefit designed for employees. They can get assistance when they lose their job under specific conditions.
Apart from all these, state governments have some healthcare programs. You can visit the official website to inquire about the healthcare programs available in your state. You can research all these programs and eligibility requirements to find a suitable one based on your financial and other conditions. The benefits of all these programs are improved public health in all categories of people.
6. Retirement Programs
The retirement and social security programs are available for those 65 or above. Seniors can qualify for these programs through FERS. These programs will be available for certain government employees. There are different types of programs, and each will have specific requirements. For example, you can get social security benefits if you are sixty-one and nine months old and not receiving social security benefits. Also, you can consider FERS to get retirement benefits if you are a government worker.
7. Tax Assistance Programs
There are several programs to make tax filing easier for those who experience difficulties. You can consider a free file if you meet the eligibility criteria. Other tax assistance programs are VITA and TCE Tax Filing Assistance. However, these programs will help you prepare your free tax. But there will be eligibility requirements. You can consider TCE if you are sixty or older.
8. Small Business Assistance Programs
Most small business assistance programs come from the Small Business Administration. Some top assistance programs for small businesses are USDA and SMLE. USDA has many programs for the agricultural community. Qualified applicants can get housing assistance, farm loans, grants for development, livestock insurance, and many more. However, SMLF provides funds for community development and community bank to support small businesses. The benefits of these programs are that you will get lower interest rates and favorable repayment terms. Besides, you will have to pay no or minimum down payments.
Wrapping It Up
The government has many assistance programs to support the expenses of low-income families, individuals, seniors, women, and children. You can research the available programs and find one that fits your unique conditions. There will be a program for all those with a financial crisis.