Government assistance and benefits from Massachusetts DSS and DTA
Low-income families in Massachusetts will get help from two agencies, including the Health and Social Services and Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA). the government agencies help people get SNAP food benefits, cash assistance, free child care and insurance from Mass Health (Medicaid) among other benefits. Find how to get government assistance in MA below, including additional social services.
A number of resources are offered in Massachusetts. These organizations provide public assistance noted above and more. There is also free government grant money from DTA or Social Services, case management, and utility or heating help to income families and people who are faced with a crisis. Services can provide free health care, food, funds for paying energy bills, and much more. Find how to apply and where below.
An extensive summary of the resources available are listed below. Each program will have its own conditions that need to be met, and they also have limited funding. Priority for cash assistance is usually provided to families with children, seniors, single moms or dads in MA, and the disabled in the state of Massachusetts. Or look here for single mothers immediate assistance.
Cash assistance from the Massachusetts government
Massachusetts Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children, or TAFDC, can sometimes be called public assistance or welfare. Funds and grants can be provided to pay bills, rent, food, and other expenses. It is a state government program that gives benefits, including cash assistance, to working poor and low-income families that have children. In addition, pregnant women may also qualify for cash assistance / TAFDC. If you apply and are accepted, you will need to also commit to finding a job or employment as well in order to maintain eligibility.
Emergency Aid to Elders, Disabled and Children, or EAEDC, can help low-income elders, disabled individuals and children. Cash and other public aid is offered. If you do not qualify for any other option or services then the Massachusetts EAEDC program may assist.
Disabled adults in MA can apply for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. This is a federal government cash assistance program offered in Massachusetts by Health and Human Services. It can help adults, seniors, or disabled children. Cash and public assistance is offered for basic living needs and bills. Learn more on benefits for disabled people in MA.
Financial assistance and counseling is offered for veterans, military members, and their families. Services are offered by Veterans' Services. The resource is a cash assistance program for veterans and their immediate family members. Funds can be provided to pay for rent, food, shelter, clothing, energy bills, housing supplies, and medical care. In addition, Veteran Services can also offer education, referrals to employment, substance abuse treatment, housing and other services so veterans can become self-sufficient.
Unemployment and/or Cash Benefits for Workers is offered for workers in Massachusetts who lose their job through no fault of their own, who retire, or are disabled. The government hardship money from Department of Transitional Assistance can also help people who are unable to work due to job-related injuries or disabilities. Unemployment Insurance can give temporary cash payments which can be used to pay bills to qualified people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. In addition, Massachusetts Medical Security Program can provide health care insurance coverage for workers.
Child Care Services, free daycare and assistance is offered as part of DTA as well as a program known as Income-eligible Child Care. Families can receive child care vouchers for paying for day or child care costs. Any government aid is prioritized from this public assistance resource for families who are looking for a job, who are currently working, or individuals who are in an approved job training or education program, or who are disabled. Single moms, who need affordable or free daycare in MA, can also get help. Click more Massachusetts free child care.
Teenage parents can also get free or low cost child care in Massachusetts. Or there is job placement, grant money, and financial literacy apps. Teen Parent Child Care is a state funded program that can offer free child care, public assistance and other benefits and support services to teen parents who are working, who are in high school, a GED program, or job training. Or look here for money apps for teens..
Massachusetts free educational services
Children up to age 5 and their parents can benefit from Head Start / Early Head Start. Access educational programs, health care, nutrition, and other aid that helps kids prepare for school. Social services are provided to parents too, including help finding a job. Head Start and Early Head Start are free early childhood programs for pregnant women and for children from birth to age 5. These programs help children from low-income families get a healthy start and become ready for school. Both programs give children and their families a wide range of educational and social services.
A number of services are offered from Early Childhood and Preschool Programs. Low income families in Massachusetts can get access to free resources. The number of assistance programs vary widely, but can include free day care, preschool, family child care, or in home day care. Referrals are also offered.
Free government job training or placement from Massachusetts DSS
Education, English as Second language, and Adult Basic Education is offered by Massachusetts Health and Human Services. This is a free instruction program for adult learners who want to improve their education or English language skills. Programs offer writing, basic reading, math, and problem-solving classes.
Get help finding a job from One-Stop Career Centers. These are funded by public money and offer people a wide range of employment and job finding services to help workers develop their skills and find jobs. They also have information on a number of job training programs, such as the workers investment act. These programs are offered to Massachusetts residents of all income levels who need job training to find work, skills to change careers, or additional skills in advancing in their jobs. Locate more free job placement in MA.
Grants to pay energy bills from MA public assistance
Heating and energy assistance is offered in Massachusetts from Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program LIHEAP. This federal government public assistance program can help pay their heating, fuel oil and utility bills. Funds can pay a regular bill, or provide emergency cash to stop a disconnection. This is run in partnership with other community action agencies, and more on Massachusetts community action near you.
Save money of energy bills, or get free basic home repairs, in Massachusetts from Weatherization Assistance. Both renters and homeowners who get TAFDC, LIHEAP fuel assistance, SSI, or other public assistance can have their homes weatherized for free. There will be some free home repairs too, including to a furnace, porch, window or even roof patching. Read more on free roof repairs.
A major focus of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP is for seniors or disabled people. This provides free updates and improvements to homes and apartments, all of which make homes easier to heat, and your resulting fuel and heating bills are lower.
Massachusetts Telephone and Utility Discounts - Almost all electric, gas, and telephone companies offer reduced rates to seniors, low-income, and disabled customers who receive public assistance benefits. Many people may qualify for up to 40% discount on their services. Some of the programs are known as LinkUp or Lifeline, and DTA will also help seniors or the low-income in Massachusetts get a free cell phoine. Utility companies also offer discounts on utility bills too.
The state of Massachusetts offers Utility Shutoff Protection. Various state laws and regulations are in place to stop utility companies from shutting off heating or electric service to low income eligible households, especially during the winter. Eligible households include people with serious illnesses, senior households, and low-income families with infants or young children. And of course applicants can’t afford to pay their utility bills. During the winter months, utility and gas companies across Massachusetts cannot shut off heating-related utilities for households with a financial hardship or emergency.
Get help paying overdue utility bills from Utility Arrearage Programs. These are also in place from many power companies. Utility arrearage programs help families and individuals restore utility service that has already been shut off or ideally prevent utility shutoffs. Services and assistance available include debt forgiveness or payment plans, or a combination of the two. Utility arrearage programs in Massachusetts include Arrearage Management Programs (AMPs), Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), and utility company programs including negated payment plans.
MassSave provides ways to save money on energy bills. Get access to tips and information about energy-saving products, free home energy assessments, rebates, loans, and other incentives and/or tax credits for energy-saving home improvements.
DTA food benefits in Massachusetts
Food assistance is offered from SNAP food stamps, Meals on Wheels, food pantries, WIC, and other public aid. A summary of resources are below.
- SNAP Benefits - Food Stamps is offered by DTA. Low-income families will be given an EBT type debit cards. The resource is a federal government public assistance program that helps low-income households pay for groceries, meals, and food. Low-income families who get SNAP food stamp benefits and their EBT card can be used to buy groceries at convenience stores, items in supermarkets, and even buy food and meals from farmers' markets.
- Dining Centers as well as Meals on Wheels can provide prepared nutritional meals and groceries to the disabled and/or homebound seniors age 60 or older. In addition, there are many Dining Centers in Massachusetts that are congregate meal sites for seniors. They can get free meals and social services.
- Food Pantries - Provide free groceries, emergency food boxes, and free meals. Several non-profit organizations and food banks also offer free or low cost bags of food, diapers, baby formula and supplies, and other food and household items for Massachusetts residents.
- WIC is offered in Massachusetts by Health and Human Services. It can provide free healthy food to children, women, infants, pregnant moms and others who need it for addressing nutritional problems.
- Summer Food and School Meals offer free or low cost meals, food, milk and other items to kids and teenagers from low income households. The Summer Food Program provides free meals, snacks and groceries, for children and teens at community center, parks, and schools.
DSS government health insurance plans
MassHealth is the public health and dental insurance program for residents of Massachusetts. It combined Medicaid, CHIP insurance, and other public health benefits. There are different components as indicated below. Department of Social Services will help low-income and/or uninsured families apply, or look here for free government health insurance in Massachusetts.
The first offering is known as Commonwealth Care. This is a state-funded health and dental insurance program for uninsured low and moderate-income individuals and families who do not qualify for MassHealth. Qualified low income and uninsured residents may choose from several health plans offered by private or state health insurance companies. There may be some charges, however monthly fees are based on income. Any type of public health insurance coverage provided is free for very low income families or residents. The MassHealth customer service number is 800-841-2900.
Health Safety Net, or Free Health Care, is offered for health insurance coverage for people who cannot afford to buy coverage or who need care. Low income or insured residents who qualify for the Safety Net can get medically necessary health services at a number of income based clinics as well as community health centers and hospitals in Massachusetts.
Services are offered at no charge or medical bills may be reduced for qualified people. The Safety Net programs can also help lower income families, adults or the low-income with medical or dental hardships. There are also dental services with many dentists in the area, all that accept Medicaid as a form of payment. Find details on dentist that accept adult Medicaid.
Last, but not least, Medicare is the federal government medical insurance program. It focuses on people who are 64 or older, or those with disabilities too in Massachusetts. The local Health and Human Service office can help with applications. The government Medicare program provides basic protection to the low income in Massachusetts, and does not cover all medical bills or does not pay for most long-term care.
Government and public assistance by county
Call any of these human service agencies for information. Or dial the Department of Transitional Assistance (800) 590-4820 or call Massachusetts Health and Human Services at 1-800-841-2900. In addition to the statewide resources referenced above, find local programs for towns and counties across the state.
Suffolk and Middlesex County
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