Learn About The Types Of Food You Can Buy With Snap Benefits
If youre eligible, you can purchase food using benefits that are issued to you monthly. You can use your SNAP benefits to buy a variety of foods for your household, including:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Breads and cereals
See the United States Department of Agriculture’s list of foods and products you can buy using SNAP benefits.
Other Types Of Help If Youre Homeless
Visit Benefits.gov to find out if youre eligible and how to apply for other types of help. This may include financial assistance, transportation, food, counseling, and more.
If you dont have medical insurance, you can use HRSA health centers. They give checkups, treatment when youre sick, pregnancy care, and immunizations for your children.
Whats Available How To Qualify And Where To Apply
The COVID-19 pandemic put government assistance programs into overdrive, as many people who never needed them before now had to use them. Heres a descriptive list of major government assistance programs for individuals and businesses, with links to where and how to apply to them and applicable deadlines.
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Your Income And Savings Must Be Below A Certain Limit
When you apply for social assistance, you must have very little income or savings.
On the application form, you must declare all income that you currently receive. You must also declare all savings and property you have.
The cut-off amount for eligibility is different depending on your situation. For example, a single person without children cannot have more than $887 of savings at the time of application. A couple with two children cannot have more than $1807.
A certain amount of your property does not count, such as part of the value of a house or a vehicle.
Once you start receiving social assistance, you can have slightly more in savings and property.
If your savings and property are more than the allowed amounts, your social assistance benefits will be reduced or you could become ineligible to receive benefits. If you receive more benefits than you should, you must pay the money back.
Us Department Of Agriculture
The USDA offers several programs aimed at all sectors of the agricultural community. Programs include farm loans, housing assistance,loans and grants for rural economic development, loans for beginning farmers and ranchers, livestock insurance, and more.Detailed information on all USDA programs, including how to apply, can be found on the USDA Grants and Loans program webpage.
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If You Already Receive A Lifeline Benefit
Lifeline is a Federal Communications Commission program to help make communications services more affordable for low-income consumers. If you currently receive a Lifeline benefit, you automatically qualify for the ACP, and you can receive both benefits at the same time. You can apply your ACP benefit and your Lifeline benefit to the same or separate services. Talk to your internet company to learn how to start receiving ACP discounts.
Am I Eligible For Emergency Rental Assistance
To be eligible for help covering your rent, you must have an agreement to pay rent for your home or mobile home lot. You dont necessarily need to have a signed lease, and your home could be an apartment, house, mobile home, or other place.
These three statements also need to be true:
Eligibility is based on a renter households financial situation and housing needs. If youre a landlord, eligibility is based on your tenants household needs. For details, start with the rental assistance programforyour state, tribe, or localarea.
Federal rules allow local rental assistance programs to cover rent or utilities for low-income families. This generally includes renter households with income up to 80% of the Area Median Income , with adjustments for family size. Use this Area Median Income Lookup Tool from Fannie Mae to find the AMI in your area.
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How Can I Show That I Am Eligible
Eligibility is based on a renter households financial situation and housing needs.
When you apply for emergency rental help, you will be asked to show that your income is eligible and that youre experiencing housing instability. If youre a landlord, eligibility is based on your tenants household needs, and youll be asked to show that your tenants household is eligible for assistance.
You must sign a written statement that the information in your application is correct and complete, and that you will use the emergency rental assistance for the costs it is meant to cover.
Local programs have different requirements. They may ask you for a written statement. Or they can ask you to show your income with other documents .
Starting May 7, 2021, landlords who accept direct payments of future rent are not allowed to evict you for not paying rent during the period covered by the rental assistance. When programs make direct payments to landlords to cover back rent, guidance strongly encourages them to prohibit eviction for 30 to 90 days after the period covered by rental assistance.
Having A Spouse Can Affect Your Eligibility Or Your Benefits
Having a spouse could have an impact on your eligibility for social assistance or the amount of benefits you may be granted.
It is therefore important to be honest about your living situation. If you have a spouse, you must declare this situation, and your spouse must complete the application form with you.
For social assistance, spouses are:
- couples who are or in a civil union and who live together
- two people of the same or opposite sex who live together and who have a child together
- common-law partners of the same or opposite sex who live together now and who have at any one time lived together for at least one year
Be careful! You might think that your boyfriend or your girlfriend is not your spouse, but a welfare inspector can investigate your living situation and declare that person your spouse. For example, if your boyfriend or your girlfriend stays overnight at your place a couple nights a week, an inspector might say that person is your spouse even if your boyfriend or girlfriend doesnt support you financially. You can have a roommate, but an inspector might believe you are spouses. Either case could lead to your benefits being cancelled. If you disagree, you can contest the decision.
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How Your Snap Benefits Work
- Your state will issue benefits each month on a plastic electronic benefits transfer card. Much like a credit or debit card, you can use your EBT card to buy eligible food items. You must buy them from:
What help is available through Medicaid?
Medicaid provides free or low-cost medical benefits to eligible:
- Adults with a low income
- People who are age 65 or over
- People with disabilities
Am I eligible for Medicaid?
Check with your states Medicaid office to see if you or your family members are eligible for benefits. In general, it depends on at least one or a combination of:
- Number of people in your family
- If you are pregnant or have a disability
How do I apply for Medicaid?
There are two ways to apply for Medicaid:
- Contact your state Medicaid agency. You must be a resident of the state where you are applying for benefits.
- Fill out an application through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
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What Your Loan Servicer Must Do If You Request Forbearance
If you’re having trouble making payments on your federally backed mortgage because of the COVID-19 pandemic, contact your loan servicer. They must:
Defer or reduce your payments for six months if you contact them to make arrangements.
You can request an extension if you need it. For most loans, your forbearance can be extended up to 12 months.
Offer options for how you can make up the deferred or reduced payments. They will discuss these options with you at the end of your forbearance period.
Federal Pell Grant Program
The Department of Education runs the Federal Pell Grant Program to promote postsecondary education for students from low-income households. Grants are similar to scholarships and dont need to be repaid. They are designed to go to undergraduate students based on factors such as the cost of attendance at the school and expected family and student contribution. In 2017, there were approximately 4,800 participating postsecondary institutions and grants were awarded for amounts between $592 and $5,920, with the average award totaling $4,050 per recipient.
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Unemployment Insurance And Covid
Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that pays part of your wages when you lose your job through no fault of your own. UI benefits are based on a percentage of a year’s earnings and last for a maximum of 26 weeks. Keep in mind that UI benefits are also subject to federal taxes. If needed, you can apply for an extension but it’s not guaranteed. Individual states run the program, each with its eligibility and filing requirements.
Many allow you to file online, by phone, orin person, though the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily halted in-person applications in many places. Some states provide extended benefits when unemployment is high. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you qualify for extended help.
The federal government provided relief for unemployed individuals during the pandemic through three special programs:
All three of these programs officially expired on Sept. 5, 2021. Eligible individuals may still qualify for unemployment claims as long as they are still unemployed and are within the first 26 weeks of their UI benefits.
Childs Health Insurance Program
CHIP offers free or low-cost medical and dental care to uninsured kids up to age 19 whose family income is above Medicaids limit but below their states CHIP limit. In addition to Medicaid, six million children received additional benefits from CHIP. It covers hospital care, medical supplies, and tests. It also provides preventive care, such as eye exams, dental care, and regular check-ups. CHIP is also administered through CMS in the Department of Health and Human Services.
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Is There A Limit On How Long I Can Get Tanf
There is a 60-month limit on the receipt of Family Assistance benefits funded under the federal TANF program, some Safety Net Assistance , or the Child Assistance Program . Additionally, payments made under Emergency Assistance to Families with Children after December 1, 1996 are included in the 60-month count. Participants in CAP are also restricted to the 60-month lifetime limit.
Additionally, cash Temporary Assistance in New York State is limited to a cumulative period of 60 months for any adult. No cash assistance benefit is granted to a family that contains an adult who has received a combined total of 60-month benefits under FA or cash SNA.
Low Income Heating Energy Assistance
LIHEAP is another energy-saving benefits program that focuses on heating and cooling energy costs. Other areas of support include assistance with energy bill payment, energy-related repairs, handling energy crises, and weatherization. To be eligible for this program, you should require assistance with energy bill payments and your household income must fall under a specified limit.
You may get more help about applying to the program by contacting your state-level LIHEAP agency, as mentioned in the following link. You may also contact the toll-free number: 1-866-674-6327
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Your Age And Your Residency Status Affect Your Eligibility
There are additional eligibility criteria for social assistance, such as your age and your residency status, among other conditions.
You must live in Québec and be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor.
You must be either a Canadian citizen, an Indigenous person, a permanent resident, a refugee, or a refugee claimant.
Permanent residents who are still under a sponsorship cannot usually receive social assistance, but they may be eligible in some situations, such as domestic violence. See our guide Immigration Status and Social Services.
Be careful! Some people, such as full-time students, are not eligible for social assistance.
How Do I File A Discrimination Complaint
New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and Local Social Service Districts are prohibited from discriminating against applicants and recipients of public benefits on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, religion, political beliefs, gender identity, transgender status, gender dysphoria, sexual orientation, marital status, military status and reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.
If you think you have been discriminated against while applying for or receiving Temporary Assistance, or that your case has been handled improperly due to some type of discrimination, you can file a complaint of discrimination, by writing to NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, SNAP Civil Rights Team , Division of Legal Affairs, 40 North Pearl Street- 16C, Albany, NY 12243, or calling 518-474-7693.
This page contains links to PDF documents. to view these documents.
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Watch Out For Government Grant And Loan Scams
Though there are many excellent government assistance programs out there, there are even more fraudulent scams designed to take advantage of low-income people in need of help. If you are contacted by someone promising a grant or loan through the government to help off-set your costs, this is very likely a scam. If someone contacts you and says you have been awarded a government grant, that you won a drawing for a government grant, or a number of other claims promising you a block of money in the form of a government loan or grant, collect all the information you can from the person and do not give out any information of your own. These kinds of statements are more often tied to scams meant to harm people, and are not actually affiliated with the federal government. You can report a fraud or find out if you might have been targeted for a fraud by contacting the Federal Trade Commission online, or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP TTY: 1-866-653-4261. You can also report grant-related scam attempts to the Health and Human Services Fraud Hotline at 1-800-447-8477. Again, do not give your personal information, including your social security number, bank account numbers, birth date, or any other personal details, to anyone contacting you about a grant or loan.
Advance Child Tax Credit
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CTC was expanded under the American Rescue Plan of 2021. The IRS pre-paid half the total credit amount in monthly payments from July to December 2021. When you file your 2021 tax return, you can claim the other half of the total CTC.
Learn more about the Advance Child Tax Credit.
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What Is An Emergency
An emergency is an urgent need or situation that has to be taken care of right away. Some examples of an emergency are:
- You are homeless
- You have little or no food
- Your landlord has told you that you must move or has given you eviction papers
- You do not have fuel for heating in the cold weather period
- Your utilities are shut-off or are about to be shut-off, or you have a 72-hour disconnect notice
- You or someone in your family has been physically harmed, or threatened with violence by a partner, ex-partner or other household member
If you and/or your family are experiencing an emergency situation, you may be eligible for emergency assistance. Some examples of emergency assistance include, but are not limited to:
- Payment of shelter arrears
- Payment of fuel and/or cost of fuel delivery
- Payment of Domestic Violence Shelter costs
- Payment of Temporary Housing costs
Payments may be authorized once you are determined to be eligible for one of the following emergency programs:
Emergency Assistance to Adults – provides assistance for individuals and couples who have been determined eligible or are receiving SSI or State Supplementation Program payments.
Emergency Assistance to Needy Families – provides assistance to meet the emergency needs of pregnant women and families with at least one child under age 18, or under age 19 and regularly attending full time secondary school.
Emergency Safety Net Assistance – provides emergency assistance to single adults and childless couples.
Cons Of Government Homeownership Programs
- Higher mortgage insurance costs
- Limited to primary residence
- Not competitive with multiple offers
On Aug. 26, 2021, the Supreme court struck down the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction moratorium set to expire Oct. 3, 2021. Pending further action by Congress, COVID-related eviction protection on a national level has ended.
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