Tool to Consider When Looking for Support

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When people find themselves dealing with a tough situation, they can feel hopeless. Luckily, they don’t have to feel this way. People in need can turn to government support for assistance. Plenty of programs are available thanks to the government. However, just because someone is dealing with hardships doesn’t mean they will be able to qualify for support. Only those that are eligible can benefit. There are so many different government programs that it’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially in a tough situation.

How To Find Support Options  

There are different opportunities when it comes to federal aid. The government focuses on helping individuals and households in almost every part of their life. That could include:

  • Medical care
  • Housing
  • Children’s nutrition

When trying to search through different kinds of support, it can feel easy to get lost in all of the options out there. That is why it is important to know that the government has a tool that is specifically designed to help people in need looking for government assistance. This tool is known as Benefits.gov.

Benefits.gov

If you want to look for federal assistance programs that you might qualify for, then you should consider Benefits.gov. With Benefits.gov, you can find programs through two different options:

Benefits Finder: Benefits Finder is a questionnaire that helps the website to find the most suitable opportunities according to your current situation. This is only available if you offer accurate and valid answers to all the questions to get the help you need. That way, the website can easily find what you might be eligible for. Furthermore, you should keep in mind that the website can tell you what programs you might qualify for, but there is no guarantee. If you really want to know whether you qualify or not, then you should send in an application for the federal program that can help.

Browse Benefits: Other than the Benefits Finder tool, there is another way to find benefit programs, which is benefits based on the category or agency. When you look for programs based on their categories, the options you will see are as follows:

  • Employment and Career Development
  • Financial Assistance
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Grants
  • Agriculture and Environmental Sustainability
  • American Indian and Alaska Native
  • Disaster Relief
  • Family and Children Services
  • Education and Training
  • Healthcare and Medical Assistance
  • Housing and Public Utilities
  • Immigration and Refugee Assistance
  • Loans
  • Military: Active Duty and Veterans
  • Social Security and Retirement
  • Volunteer Opportunities

On the other hand, if you want to choose a program based on its agency, then you might find agencies such as the United States Department of Education (ED), the United States Department of Energy (DOE), and so on!

Federal Support Opportunities to Think About

When looking for government support, you will likely come across the following popular programs:

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

There are plenty of Americans out there who have a hard time paying for their utilities. This is where LIHEAP comes into play! Qualifying recipients receive benefits from the program that can help with the following energy-related expenses:

  • Energy bills
  • Weatherization of their homes
  • Repairs on their homes

The best part of these benefits is that people can actually decrease the possibility of any accidents that could come from damaged heating and cooling sources. If you want to know more about this program, then you should call LIHEAP’s toll-free number at 1-866-674-6327.

Housing Choice Voucher Program

Eligible recipients of this program, also known as Section 8, get housing vouchers that they can use on housing costs. However, not all properties allow these vouchers to be used as a form of payment. This means that the properties available are limited to only those who accept this payment type. To encourage landlords to allow the use of these housing vouchers, the federal government offers tax incentives!

Other than properties accepting this kind of payment, these properties must successfully go through a housing inspection that the local Public Housing Authority (PHA) sets. Your local PHA is the best resource to help you submit your application and get the information you need. Additionally, you can find information about other housing support opportunities near you through your local PHA. If the program accepts your application, then the program will typically place you on a waiting list. Unfortunately, this wait could be months or years long.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Groceries can be tough for people to pay for every month. Luckily, a program that can help with this cost is SNAP. SNAP is a program available thanks to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This program can provide funds every month on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. This card can be used to buy grocery items that are eligible for this program. However, it’s important to note that not every store accepts these cards as a form of payment!

Medicaid

Another issue that most people across the United States experience is medical expenses. As a matter of fact, the main source of debt in the United States that needs to be collected is medical bills that are not paid. Medicaid is a health insurance program that the federal government offers to eligible individuals and households that have limited income. The benefits of this program are that it offers healthcare to those who qualify at a discounted price or for free! The specifics of this program will depend on the state.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

In times when a household is struggling to pay for private insurance but is not eligible for Medicaid, CHIP can be useful. This children’s health insurance program offers medical and dental healthcare at an affordable rate until they reach the age of 19. The program offers medical coverage for a variety of expenses such as:

  • Medical tests/supplies
  • Hospital/preventative care
  • Screenings

Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

This program helps women, those who are pregnant, babies, and kids up to the age of five. Those who qualify to receive benefits from this program can get:

  • Food
  • Assistance referrals
  • Education
  • Vouchers

If you want to know more, you will want to contact your local WIC office. Furthermore, you can apply through your local WIC office, too!

Programs for Child Nutrition

Offering children benefits and support is another priority of the federal government. That is why they have created several kinds of programs that target child nutrition, which include:

National School Lunch Program (NSLP)

This program helps public and nonprofit private schools. NSLP focuses on offering nutritious lunches. These lunches are at a discounted price or for free to eligible kids throughout the academic year. Fortunately, the lunches are nutritionally balanced and qualifying kids receive them every school day.

School Breakfast Program (SBP)

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, which is why the SBP is so important! This program offers compensation to residential childcare agencies and schools that run breakfast programs. In turn, it encourages these institutions to provide this support because it is reimbursed.

Special Milk Program (SMP)

Milk helps children grow, among other benefits. This program offers eligible schools reimbursements for the milk they offer. This includes those schools that participate in the School Breakfast Program and the National School Lunch Program.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Those who have limited income and are either elderly or disabled might benefit from the SSI program through monthly cash support. The amount individuals can get from this program per month is $841 or $1,261 as a couple (for 2022). This amount has been raised for 2023! As of 2023, the maximums will be:

  • $914 for an individual
  • $1,371 for a couple

Those who receive benefits from the program can use the money on groceries, clothes, housing costs, and so on. Basically, anything that is a necessity!

Bottom Line

You should explore your options for government support on websites such as Benefits.gov to figure out what options are out there. This website can help you find possible solutions to your current situation. However, they also allow users to look for different federal aid options through the agency or category.

Make sure to remember that there are different programs to consider, such as:

  • Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Housing Choice Voucher Program
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Medicaid
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Programs for Child Nutrition
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Furthermore, you should know that there are federal programs out there to help you out when you are financially struggling. You just need to know what to consider. Who knows, one of these programs could be the fix for your problems!