Public assistance in Arizona.

Get information on public assistance in Arizona. A number of organizations, including the Department of Health Services, provide cash assistance, case management, and other resources to low income and the less fortunate residents of Arizona. The details on the various services and public assistance programs are below.

The Arizona Cash Assistance program offers temporary cash assistance and other benefits and services. The programs focus on the most vulnerable and at risk Arizona families and children. The cash can help families meet their basic needs, pay bills, and can serve as a bridge to allow people to get back to becoming self-sufficient.

Emergency assistance can be provided by Short Term Crisis Services (STCS). The program can offer temporary financial assistance to low income households experiencing a crisis or some type of emergency situation. A wide variety of resources and services can be provided to help the household in addressing the crisis. The Arizona Short Term Crisis Service is a partnership with other non-profit agencies across the state. Public funds and grants from the federal government and state funds can be paid out to individuals. Money will be used to provide financial assistance with paying rent, energy bills, housing and mortgage expenses, repairs and other special needs. The program was created to help people either maintain or obtain employment.

Child care expense assistance – Arizona DES Child Care can help families pay for their child care costs. Public money can be used to pay child care expenses if the parent needs help while they participate in job training activities or maintain employment. From time to time funds may be paid out in certain other circumstances when parents are unable to pay for child care themselves. Families need to meet income guidelines and be found to be qualified for assistance. Read Arizona child care assistance programs.

Unemployment Insurance Program is also administered by the Arizona Department of Health Services. This assistance program provides people who have lost their job with a measure of economic security through offering financial assistance to the individual worker when unemployment occurs. The UI Program pays cash benefits and grants on a weekly basis to individuals who become unemployed through no fault of their own.





Disability assistance and services are available from Social Security Administration. Resources can help people with disabilities pay their bills and meet their basic financial needs. The DES Disability Determination Service Administration (DDSA) determines medical eligibility for two government funded Social Security Administration (SSA) disability programs, the first being Supplemental Security Income (SSI), also known as Title XV, and the second is known as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is also known as Title II.

The Arizona Department of Economic Security offers several different food assistance programs. A primary focus is on reducing hunger, in particular with children, seniors, and other low income individuals.

The Emergency Food Assistance Program, otherwise known as TEFAP, is funded by the federal government and is a public assistance program. This resource can provide nutrition assistance and free emergency food to the low income and seniors. In addition, federal government surplus food is distributed as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture funded program.

DES’ Nutrition Assistance Program – Helps tens of thousands of families meet their nutritional needs. Eligibility for free food and other benefits is based on the applicants household income, resources, and other program requirements such as eligible non-citizen status, residence, citizenship, and cooperation and other factors.

Community agencies partner with DES to offer families utility assistance from the federal government Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).  The LIHEAP program is run at the local county level, so you need to call or stop by your local community action agency to apply. The public funded emergency utility assistance program can provide one-time cash grant to help low income households pay their cooling or heating bills. A crisis component can prioritize Arizona families who are faced with a shut off of their service.




Other food assistance resources are administered as part of the Coordinated Hunger Program. The primary goal of this program is to coordinate with various public, federal, state, and local organizations to help as many people as possible. The Arizona Coordinated Hunger Program service can give food assistance to the hungry and contracts with various non-profit agencies to maximize resources in the community. Among the services provided are food bank coordination, supplemental nutrition assistance outreach, food boxes, government commodities, and making available information on where to obtain free or low cost food when someone is in need.

AHCCCS Medical Assistance and Health Insurance. Tens of thousands of Arizona families get medical insurance coverage from this resource. It provides them the ability to receive free or low cost doctor’s office visits, physical exams, prescription medications, immunizations, prenatal care, and hospital care.

The state government Homeless Coordination Office can both coordinate and plan for activities that can offer assistance and other services for people who need help paying rent, those who are faced with an eviction, and the currently homeless. A combination of federal government, state and charitable funds is used to support local efforts to provide services such as outreach, emergency shelter, help with rent, transitional housing, and case management.

Department of Economic Security Utility and Telephone Discount Programs. In addition to LIHEAP which is referenced above, DES administers three other utility bill and telephone discount programs for Arizona residents. The programs run in close ties with agreements from Qwest Corporation (Qwest) as well as Arizona Public Service Company (APS).

Lifeline Telephone Discount Program provides savings and discounts to the basic telephone rates of low income households. People who currently receive other public assistance may also qualify.

Telephone Assistance Program for the Medically Needy – Individuals who can’t afford a phone, but who need one for a medical condition, may receive substantial savings.

Senior Telephone Discount Program – Seniors and people 65 or old in Arizona who also meet low income guidelines can get a discount on their basic telephone rates.




Get help finding a job in Arizona. The Department of Health Services works with non-profit agencies and a statewide network of public employment offices. They partner together to offer placement services for labor force recruitment services, guidance for employers, and also offer help for job seekers. The Employment Service program focuses on providing a variety of employment-related labor exchange services including job referral, recruitment services for employers with job openings, job search assistance, and placement assistance for jobseekers, re-employment services to Unemployment Insurance claimants, information on training, and more.

To apply for public assistance or get more information on what the Arizona Department of Health Service can offer, dial (602) 542-4791.

Assistance from Cities and Counties in Arizona

Maricopa County

Pima County

Pinal County






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