The federal government is responsible for funding a variety of assistance programs. It can be overwhelming researching different options because no two programs are the same! Each opportunity serves a different purpose. However, every opportunity is meant to improve the quality of life of those who can benefit. There are basic needs that people need to live. Unfortunately, the reality is that many households can’t afford these basic needs. Luckily, the federal government provides relief at no cost! Depending on your needs and finances, you may be able to benefit from one or more government opportunities.
How to Find Out About Available Federal Assistance Programs Online
You may not realize how many different forms of government assistance are out there. People that are dealing with all types of hardship can likely benefit from some form of support. There are opportunities from food assistance to health coverage. You can even get help on your energy bill! Each program that’s out there serves a different purpose. Therefore, the eligibility requirements depend on what kind of assistance is being delivered. You can easily search through available options by utilizing online resources!
This government website can help you narrow down which government opportunities are right for you. The website provides an overview of over 1,000 programs. In addition to that, benefits.gov provides links that can direct you to the next steps to take advantage of an opportunity you’re interested in. You can also read helpful blog posts about financial topics and other important resources.
There is more than one way to browse available options on the site. One way you can find out opportunities you might be eligible for is by using Benefit Finder. This tool is a helpful resource that guides users through a series of questions about their current situation. After answering the questions, the tool provides a list of potential assistance programs that can help you. It’s important to keep in mind that the search engine is only recommending certain programs to you. There is no guarantee that you’re eligible for assistance, even if Benefit Finder suggested a specific program to you. However, this is an effective research tool to get you headed into the right direction!
Another way to search through programs on benefits.gov is to check out the different categories. This option could be quicker if you have a good idea of what type of assistance you might qualify for.
Taking a Look at the Various Assistance Programs
Now that you’re familiar with how to research available support opportunities, we can take a look at some popular options. The federal government aims to give qualifying households access to basic necessities. The programs we are going to highlight can help provide low-income households various types of assistance. This includes healthcare, nutrition assistance, rental subsidies, and more.
- National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
- Housing Choice Voucher Program
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Medicaid is a federal health insurance program for people that can’t access private insurance. This health coverage is offered at an affordable rate or even for free. In order to qualify, your household’s combined income must be lower than the limits set by your state. This is important to know because state governments operate their own Medicaid program. Seeking necessary medical care can be expensive for Americans without health coverage. As a result, the leading source of debt in the U.S. is unpaid medical bills.
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) offers free or reduced-price meals in school cafeterias across the United States. Participating schools receive federal funds that allow them to provide nutritious meals to qualifying children. This program has been around since 1946 when President Truman signed the National School Lunch Act into effect. NSLP is an important opportunity because it allows parents the relief of knowing their children won’t go hungry at school! In order to qualify for the NSLP, you must have an income that is beneath certain limits or already benefit from other specific programs.
Rental assistance can be extremely valuable to households going through financial struggles. Housing costs are often one of the biggest expenses that people deal with. The Housing Choice Voucher Program, also known as Section 8, is just one form of available federal housing assistance. This program offers housing vouchers to eligible low-income families and individuals. If you’re able to qualify for Section 8, your Public Housing Authority (PHA) credits your voucher towards your rent. The remainder, that isn’t covered, is up to you to pay. Even so, the credit can significantly reduce your overall housing expenses.
Section 8 makes it so that you can access affordable housing on the private market, regardless of your financial status. Once you’re able to receive your voucher, you’re tasked with finding your own rental unit to live in. This process can be complicated as there are certain standards that the property needs to meet. First, the rental needs to pass an inspection done by the PHA. In addition to that, the property owner needs to be willing to accept your voucher. Unfortunately, landlords are not obligated to do so. For these reasons, there are limited properties available for Section 8.
We previously highlighted a nutrition assistance program that can provide children nutritious food in school. In addition to NSLP, there are numerous food assistance programs that can help low-income families. One program in particular is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This nutrition assistance comes in the form of monthly funds that can be used to buy groceries. Therefore, if you’re looking for food assistance that can benefit the whole family, this is it! Furthermore, SNAP recipients may be automatically eligible for additional assistance from programs such as NSLP.
If you’re found eligible for SNAP benefits, you are given an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. Each month, your allotted benefit amount is loaded onto the EBT card automatically. It’s important to know that you can’t use SNAP funds to purchase any food items. For example, alcoholic beverages, pet food, and food sold hot can’t be purchased using EBT. Despite that, there is a long list of eligible items that you can buy. These include nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat, bread, cereal, and much more!
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps eligible low-income households with their energy bills. They do this by providing financial aid to cover heating or cooling expenses. This program aims to prevent health risks associated with extreme temperature changes. Not only does LIHEAP provide cost assistance, it can also make necessary repairs around your home. These repairs and improvements are meant to make the energy efficiency of your home better. This in turn can lower your overall costs down the line.
Families that are struggling to make ends meet may wonder if there are any ways that they can get relief. There are government assistance options that can help people with a variety of needs. The federal government provides individuals and families with healthcare, nutrition assistance, affordable housing, and more. Furthermore, people of all different ages and backgrounds can benefit from these options! Finally, it’s important to research each program thoroughly and understand what sorts of eligibility criteria is required. This can help avoid any misunderstandings or delays when it comes to getting the assistance you and your family need!