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Public assistance and government aid in Idaho.

A number of services and public assistance programs are available to the low income and needy across Idaho. Some of the resources are funded by the federal government, and other cash assistance programs are provided directly by the state of Idaho and the Department of Health and Welfare. Find information on the various programs below, including food, emergency utility bill help, and other aid.

Get help with phone bills or installation costs from the Idaho Telephone Service Assistance Program. Assistance is offered for qualified low-income families, and funds can be used to pay the monthly costs for basic residential phone service and bills as well as telephone service installation. LinkUp and LifeLine are the common names of these phone programs. Find other options for telephone bill help, including free government cell phones.

Food, meals, and groceries are offered from a number of resources such as Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), food stamps and WIC.

The Idaho Food Stamp Program, which is also commonly referred to as SNAP, helps low-income families and those who are most at risk buy the food they need in order to stay healthy. Food vouchers are provided from the Idaho Quest Card. People who get food stamps will use the card at their local grocery store. The card uses cash assistance from a Food Stamp account that is set up for the eligible family. This allows families to pay for items such as groceries and other qualified food products.

Another component is the Emergency Food Assistance Program, which offers food baskets to eligible households across Idaho.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, is paid for by public funds and can offer assistance to families. Participants can get nutrition education, cash assistance/checks to buy healthy supplemental foods from local supermarkets and grocery stores and more. For example, also receive help finding healthcare and other community services as well as breastfeeding information and support.

Temporary Assistance for Families in Idaho can offer cash assistance and public aid for low income families with children. Job finding programs and work preparation services are offered too. The program, known as TAFI, provides cash benefits for qualified households and low-income families to help them pay for shelter, food, clothing, housing and other essentials. More on Idaho cash assistance.




Heating and utility bill assistance can be provided to Idaho families from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This federal government resource can help eligible low-income individuals and families pay a portion of their heating bills or other electric costs. Most of the financial assistance is paid out in the winter. In addition, energy conservation education and weatherization is also available.

Idaho Weatherization Assistance Program may be able to help low-income families save money by conserving energy. In addition, weatherization can also help people improve their living conditions by installing weather stripping, repairing or replacing heat sources (heaters, furnaces, etc.), adding insulation, or items like caulking around windows and doors.

The Idaho Aid for Aged, Blind, and Disabled can provide cash assistance and social services for residents who are disabled, blind, or 65 and older. If after applying and found to be qualified, individuals will receive a certain amount of cash each and every month to help pay for everyday living expenses and bills. People can also learn about other public resources that may be available. The amount an individual will be provided from the program will be based their unique circumstances such as resources, living arrangements, and household income.

Child care assistance can be provided by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare too. Low-income, working families can receive child care assistance to be used for paying a portion of their day care or child care expenses. This program is for parents who attend school, work, or those who actively participate in approved activities to help prevent children from being placed in foster care.

The public assistance program pays for only part of the child care costs for eligible households, and parents will also need to pay for a portion of the costs too. The parent’s share that they need to be paid will be based on the size of the family and also their total household income. The Department also works closely with community partners on a professional development system to improve child care services in Idaho and has a list of approved providers. Click more details on free daycare in Idaho.





Idaho's State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) can provide medical care for people whose income is too high to qualify for federal government Medicaid. The state funded SCHIP is a health insurance and coverage program for children under age 19 whose family income is too high to qualify for other public aid such as Medicaid. Small monthly fees or premiums may be charged on bills or premiums.

Assistance for prescription drugs may be provided too. The primary goal of the Idaho Medicaid Pharmacy Program is to provide quality medical and health care to Medicaid participants by giving them access to the most effective drug at the most affordable price. (800) 922-3987

Idaho KinCare Resources – Offers cash assistance, social services and help for paying bills for family members, such as grandparents, who are taking care of children and who are raising a relative’s child. The state knows that this type of arrangement can be challenging from financial, legal, and emotional standpoint, so any assistance the state can provided they try to do this.

How to apply for benefits in Idaho

To apply for help, call 877-456-1233, 800-926-2588, or another number is 1-877-456-1233 to reach the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.


By Jon McNamara













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