For families that meet low income guidelines, and that are working towards employment and stability, they may qualify for public aid from the county of Worcester and state. There are a wide range of resources available, ranging from cash assistance from TAFDC to Emergency Aid to Elders or Disabled and fuel assistance, just to name a few. More details on the benefits are below.
The process to receive benefits from the county will also involve a case management approach. This will mean the applicant needs to be in job training or working, and social services will touch upon other issues too. This is required as the goal of public assistance is to offer short term support while the resident achieves long term stability.
Assistance is available for paying winter heating bills from LIHEAP, which may be the county's main public aid program. There will be grants for paying for heating bills, oil, gas, kerosene and other sources of fuel. In some cases, the county can accelerate payments to Worcester households as part of crisis LIHEAP, and this will be used to stop with the disconnection of power or heating service.
Other utility programs in the county include Lifeline for paying phone bills, weatherization for conserving energy and saving money, and non-profit resources such as Citizens Energy. There are also state mandated Utility Shutoff Protection Plans as well as Arrearage programs, and the government will require that all providers offer these services to low income customers.
Worcester Housing and Community Development can help with providing public and income subsidized housing, such as the HUD approved section 8 vouchers. The goal is to prevent homelessness, and while referrals may be available to emergency assistance, this is not the main service provided.
Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) is an option for low income families with children in Worcester. This can also include single moms or pregnant women as well. The state will offer them cash grants for certain expenses, ranging from rent to medical bills or food. The client also needs to be in job training or some time of employment.
The Worcester office of the Department of Transitional Assistance can provide vouchers to pay for child care too. This can help working poor parents pay for the costs of this service while they are in training, working, or otherwise gaining new skills.
There is often a waiting list in place, and the benefit will only pay for a portion of the costs, based on a sliding fee scale. However, there can be exceptions made for teenage parents, as the county may be for their entire expense.
Disabled in Worcester County can also get assistance. There are many different options available, and they range from Emergency Aid to Elders, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) to the more traditional Supplemental Security Income (SSI). A fixed monthly amount will be paid out each month from this federal and state funded programs.
Hunger is addressed in Worcester County Massachusetts from SNAP food stamps and also WIC. Clients, including pregnant or new mothers, will be given a monthly allotment to help pay for groceries, perishable goods, and other food boxes they need. Residents of the city can even be working and they can still be enrolled into this public aid program. WIC will offer help with baby formula and other needs for newborn, while students can enroll into free Breakfast and Lunch Programs. Most retailers and grocery stores in Worcester accept any customer that has a voucher or EBT card as well.
Some of the intake sites to try for information or applications include.
10 Hammond Street, Worcester, Massachusetts 01610. Call 508-798-0191
A center is at 19 Chatham Street, Worcester, MA 01609. Telephone 508-799-5009
36 Wall Street, Worcester, MA 01604. Main number is 508-755-4362
484 Main Street, Denholm Building, Worcester, MA 01608, call 508-754-1176
The primary public health insurance plans from Worcester Department of Transitional Assistance in the county include MassHealth, which covers both dental and pother health care needs. Components of it include Commonwealth Care and Health Safety Net. All of these come with different terms and conditions.
In some cases, the family will need to pay a portion of their income towards their medical bills, and in other instances Worcester will use public funds to pay for the entire cost. So the care is offered for free to the needy and poor.
Health and Human Services offers a number of self-sufficiency services in the county, ranging from GED to ESL classes. The goal will always be to help residents, whether they are adults or youth, gain new skills, which can lead to a new or higher paying job. There are also One-Stop Career Center in Worcester County, and referrals can be made to these locations. They also offer employment resources.
There are many other programs available as well. Call 1-800-249-2007.
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