West Virginia families facing a financial crisis may be able to get help from the Emergency Assistance Program. This resource can assist families and individuals in addressing a temporary short term hardship when families have no other options or resources available to them. A number of services are offered to struggling individuals as well as income qualified families in West Virginia as indicated below.
The crisis program was created to help people deal with a short-term emergency situation. Grants and financial assistance can be offered to eligible families and individuals. The Emergency Assistance Program can help state residents obtain items or services needed to address and ideally eliminate an emergency or crisis situation.
While everyone is faced with different challenges, typical items of need that are asked for from the state include emergency rent assistance, utilities, food, heating bills, household supplies, clothing, transportation, prescriptions and medical service. The program does have limited funding and not everyone can be helped. Financial assistance provided is limited to one 30 consecutive day period during any 12 consecutive months, so use the program wisely.
The West Virginia Emergency Assistance Program can be used to assist low income families, those facing poverty and other individuals in meeting a financial crisis when they are without available resources from other options. So people need to have explored services and applied for assistance from non-profits, other government programs, and charities before they are able to get help from the emergency program.
If qualified, clients can get access to short-term cash grants and emergency financial assistance with which eligible low income individuals and families, seniors, and the disabled may obtain certain services or items needed to eliminate an emergency or crisis. Those who are in need of help and who also qualify for emergency financial assistance may already be participating in a social service program or some other type of government economic assistance program, so this is not an exclusive service and it can be combined with other resources. Families and individuals who receive emergency financial assistance may also be in need of and be eligible to receive regular ongoing financial, medical, and/or social services from the Department.
There are a number of criteria that need to be met by applicants. If you want to apply for emergency financial assistance from the state, an applicant who meets the definition of being faced with an emergency or crisis situation is one who is current dealing with an imminent crisis, or maybe they have an ongoing, existing condition. The hardship being experienced needs to threaten the physical safety, health, and well-being of the applicant and his or her family.
In addition, participants in the program need to be without available financial resources with which he or she can immediately eliminate an existing hardship or prevent an imminent crisis. So applicants basically need to have no other options available to them, and the West Virginia Emergency Assistance Program is a resource of last resort.
Grants from the program as well as emergency financial assistance can be paid out to those in need at most once during a period of 30 consecutive days in any 12 consecutive months. Payments for bills, rent, food and other needs may be made to meet expenses which arose before this 30-day-period ends. While exceptions can be made, it is rare for payments to be made to meet needs of state residents which may extend beyond the 30 day period.
Another component of the program can help with heating and utility bills. For example, during the months of November through March, low income recipients of WV WORKS or SSI as well as recipients of the federal government Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits who are age 60 or older may qualify for additional energy assistance. They will be eligible for up to a 20% discount from their electric or gas companies on their monthly bills. The Department's of Children and Families Assistance primary role is to send application packets to recipients of the qualifying state government benefits and to supply the utility or energy companies with lists of customers who have become ineligible for the discounts because they are no longer eligible for the qualifying benefits.
The West Virginia Bureau for Children and Families Assistance administers the emergency assistance program in partnership with your local DHHR Office. You will need to call or stop by your local office to apply.
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