The state of Wisconsin administers a number of public assistance programs and resources for low income residents and families. Funding is limited, and all of the programs have qualifications that need to be met. Pubic aid is usually focused on families with children, seniors, disabled, and those who are faced with a short term emergency. Get information on all of the services offered by the Department of Health Services below.
Women, infants, and children can get food and nutritional assistance from Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC. The Wisconsin program, which is paid for by public funds, provides free or low cost nutritious foods, meals, nutrition and breast feeding information to lower income pregnant women. Case workers that work with the WIC program in Wisconsin can also offer referral to other health and nutrition services. Aid is targeted at breastfeeding, at-risk and postpartum women, infants and children.
Free food from the federal government Emergency Food Assistance (TEFAP) program is available too. The program provides free groceries, food and surplus government commodities to food pantries and banks across Wisconsin. A number of churches, food pantries and prepared meal sites receive surplus government commodities and they are distributed with other perishable foods to the low income. These food pantries and other centers then give the aid to those who need help.
Home delivered meals can be provided to the homebound in Wisconsin from Meals on Wheels. This food assistance program is available for the homebound and people who are 60 years of age or older in Wisconsin. People who are physically or emotionally unable to travel for a meal or food, or who are stuck at home due to health reasons, may qualify for Meals on Wheels. Hot meals and food will be delivered by caring persons, most of them being volunteers. Some items may be free; others may have a low cost or ask for a donation from the person at home.
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) provides supplemental foods that are donated by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). In addition, the food assistance program also provides services such as nutrition information and education to low income families, and they work in partnership with other public agencies as well as state of Wisconsin organizations. A main goal of CFSP is provide additional assistance to qualified seniors and elderly in the community. In addition, aid can also be offered as an extension of the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) in Wisconsin.
The Department of Health Services Child Care Financial Assistance and Subsidy Program is known as Wisconsin Shares. This service can help families pay for child care costs and bills associated with day care providers. Most of the financial assistance is offered for paying for child care for children under 13, however teenagers up to age 19 can be covered in certain situations. Read Wisconsin child care assistance.
Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) – Receive financial assistance for paying heating bills and costs. Most of the public funds are disbursed during the winter. Cash assistance can also be provided in an energy crisis situation. No matter what type of fuel a homeowner in Wisconsin uses, most types of fuel and energy bills are eligible to receive grants and financial assistance. For example, get help in paying for propane, natural gas, wood, electricity bills, or fuel oil. Over 200,000 families receive help from WHEAP each and every year.
Financial assistance from WHEAP is paid out once per year as a cash grant during the heating season, which runs from October to May. The cash assistance provided will pay for a portion of an applicants heating and utility bills. How much money is paid out will depend on the households income and family size. Some money is also provided during the summer to help pay for cooling and air conditioning bills for people who are most at risk.
Furnace Repair and Assistance - If your boiler or furnace stops operating during the heating season, then the state of Wisconsin WHEAP program may be able to help with that too. Emergency furnace and heating system assistance includes cash payment for repairs. Or in a very small number of households a new furnace or boiler may be provided by this public assistance program to income qualified seniors and families with children.
If you run out of heat or are faced with a disconnection, a household may be eligible for financial assistance to pay your energy bill in a crisis. Financial assistance and other public aid is offered if you have no heat, are nearly out of fuel, or help may be offered if have received a disconnect notice from the heating or utility company. The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program also has a crisis component too.
Additional electric bill assistance may be provided by Wisconsin’s Public Benefits, which is another government funded program. This resource is slightly more open as to the number of people who can qualify.
Emergency Financial Assistance (EA) can help people faced with eviction, impending homelessness, those who are homelessness, individuals faced with an energy crisis, fire, flood or natural disaster. This public aid resource is only offered at most once per year to income qualified families. The goal is to help people keep their home, or relocate into a new one. All money is only paid out if someone is faced with a crisis.
Job Access Loan is a very short term no interest loan. Money provided must be applied to helping someone find or keep a job. For example, maybe a loan for a car repair or to make a housing payment.
Wisconsin Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA) as well as Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) gives temporary health care and financial help to new immigrants or refugees. Funds are only offered for the first 8 months that someone lives in Wisconsin. In addition, all RCA recipients need to also enroll in an employment program to help them find a job or career as quickly as possible. Additional conditions need to be met too.
Get help finding a job and gaining skills from the Wisconsin Transitional Jobs program. This public service helps people become self-sufficient. Thousands of people have received assistance from the Transitional Jobs Demonstration Project, and many people have gained skills and reentered the workforce using this service. Work with a specialist to help find a job or develop skills.
ForwardHealth – This is Wisconsin’s state run version of Medicaid. Free or low cost health care is offered by the Department of Health Services for blind, elderly, or disabled individuals, and the service provides health care and assistance for medical bills for those qualified patients. Income limits will also be factored in.
Other public medical programs in Wisconsin offered by Department of Health Services include all of these resources listed below.
Prescription medications can be provided from BadgerRx Gold. This government funded resource is a medical and prescription assistance program that was created to help keep prescription drugs affordable and accessible for lower income or uninsured Wisconsin residents. The prescription program is very flexible, and there is no age requirement and no screening for pre-existing health conditions.
Health Insurance Risk Sharing Plan can provide access to affordable, high quality healthcare for all income eligible Wisconsin residents. The resource has been available for over 30 years. Even patients who have a medical condition that’s preventing them from paying for or receiving health insurance may qualify. Another beneficiary is those who have lost their employer-sponsored health coverage. These individuals may still qualify for great high quality yet affordable benefits through the state funded HIRSP.
To apply for public assistance or government aid for paying bills, medical expenses, energy costs and more dial 608-266-1865 to reach the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
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