Welfare programs have been around for a while, and they’ve acted as a form of safety net to prevent low-income American families from entering severe poverty.
The federal government manages a great deal of these programs, and their one true purpose is to offset the expenses some families face on an everyday basis, ranging from healthcare to groceries.
By assisting these needy American families, they can focus on saving their resources or pursuing education that will help them on their path to financial independence.
By receiving benefits from a program, a family can focus on their security, health, and development, which will help them grow out of the welfare programs they’ve been using to make room for others who need the help much more than they do.
Even though the federal government funds the majority of these welfare programs, they’re administered and managed at a state level, where they may receive additional funding before they’re distributed to those in need.
How to qualify?
For most welfare programs, applicants must first present proof that their income is below a certain percentage of the federal poverty level, whereas other requirements usually include being a US citizen, or at least, an eligible non-citizen.
At times, these programs may also include requirements and rules about an applicant’s family size as well as combined family income to filter through those that don’t actually require assistance from the program.
During his term, former president Donald Trump introduced several work requirements to welfare programs, ultimately tying them to the 2020 fiscal budget he’d presented.
Currently, the agencies and government departments are working on incorporating these requirements into the many available programs.
It’s important to note that welfare programs are substantially different from entitlement programs like Social Security Insurance and unemployment insurance, as both of those are reliant on previous payroll tax contributions.
Welfare, on the other hand, depends only on a family’s income level, and with it, the level of need is also determined.
Often referred to as Food Stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program offers an EBT card to its beneficiaries, which can then use it to purchase qualifying products from participating stores.
A certain amount of funds is deposited into a SNAP user’s EBT card every month, and they can then use it to buy groceries, and while the average amount of $133 isn’t anything to write home about, it’s enough to cover the most basic of needs.
Apart from SNAP, eligible Americans may also encounter similar programs that focus on certain demographic groups, such as nursing mothers and young children, which can receive food stamps from the WIC, a program that offers food vouchers, counseling, and referrals to help pregnant women and children under the age of 6 feed themselves.
With the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans gained access to healthcare through programs like Medicaid and the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Prior to the introduction of the ACA, no adult without children could receive free health coverage, regardless of how low their income was.
Now, a child can stay on their parent’s healthcare plan up until they turn 26, meaning that young adults that may not be able to afford coverage on their own can make use of their parent’s health insurance.
On top of this, the ACA introduced two subsidies for individuals and families in the US. A great advantage the Affordable Care Act introduced is the introduction of guaranteed coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, which is a massive leap compared to how the health insurance companies handled patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer.
With HealthSherpa, over 1.8 million Americans enrolled for affordable health coverage, and if you require any further assistance with health insurance applications, you can call their support hotline at 872-228-2549.
With housing assistance programs, the federal government uses funds to help find affordable housing options for Americans who desperately need a roof over their heads.
Through programs like Section 8, which is also known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, families can receive vouchers that can be used to cover a portion of their rent, making it so they’re spending only 30% of their income on housing-related expenses.
It’s important to note that these coupons are only accepted by participating landlords, although the local governments do offer initiatives to those that become part of the program.
Sometimes, these vouchers can even be used to purchase a home, although it probably won’t be the dream castle you’ve always wanted, it’ll be good enough to provide shelter for your family while you figure things out.
Apart from Section 8, some families may also be able to benefit from the LIHEAP benefits, as the program focuses on covering needy families’ utility costs and repairing faulty heating/cooling systems.
By doing this, they ensure that the home’s systems are running efficiently, which helps lower utility costs even further.