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Public and government assistance programs.

Find public assistance programs, help from the government, and benefits for low-income families, the poor, and people with no money. The federal government, most states and local government social services provide help to struggling people. There is energy assistance, food, medical, money from the government and more.  Find government assistance and benefit programs near you..

The goal of a public assistance program is always to address the immediate crisis while helping families get long term stability. Social or Human Service offices near you help low-income families access the government benefits or public aid they need. A major focus is on families living in poverty, senior citizens, disabled adults and people with no income or money.

Depending on the state you live in, and the exact federal government benefit programs available, public assistance will usually be provided in the form of cash deposited to a bank account or an EBT card. Low-income households will get money from the federal or state government or an electronic debit cards that can be used to buy essential items. Each federal or state program will have qualification in place that need to be met by applicants.

  • This will usually involve public assistance programs being given to households that fall within both income and total household asset limits.
  • Or the applicant to public aid or government benefits needs to be unemployed, including having no income.
  • Other government assistance in the form of grant money is for the disabled, elderly, singe moms, or the homeless among others. Learn more on free government money for the low-income.

While public assistance is usually administered at the state level and is funded by taxpayers, people will normally need to apply for help at their local human services or Department of Social services office. A local community action agency will also be a great resource in explaining what public assistance is as well as how to get it. Contact information for each state and government benefit near you is below.

Public aid food benefits

SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - The federal government resource is also commonly called food stamps. Some states call SNAP a different name. Food stamps (SNAP) provides low-income families with the ability to buy groceries and food at authorized retailers near them. SNAP beneficiaries will be provided an electronic EBT card to make these purchases. More on SNAP food stamps.




Commodity Supplemental Food Program - The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers free food items to seniors over 60 years of age, infants, children under six years of age, as well as mothers up to one year postpartum. Get staple foods including free government cheese, milk, dairy, meat, groceries for seniors and more from the public assistance program. Learn more about Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

Emergency Food Assistance Program from the government - Low-income individuals can receive free food from TEFAP, another USDA resource. It can include canned goods, a bag of groceries, or hot, healthy meals. Read more on TEFAP emergency food.

Women, Infants and Children (WIC) - This USDA program will provide free supplemental food to pregnant or breastfeeding women. Or the government assistance program will provide baby free formula to infants or children under 5 years of age. There will be infant milk from WIC, Enfamil, Gerber, and other nutritious food or infant formula. The government will provide vouchers or checks as part of Women, Infants and Children.

Energy bill help from government assistance near you

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program - Most states offer this federal government program for low income families, including families with young children, the elderly and disabled. Grants can help pay heating bills, cooling expenses, and a crisis component can prevent a disconnection. Find how to apply for public assistance grants from LIHEAP energy assistance.

Weatherization - The government benefit will help low-income families, and people with older homes, reduce their home heating or cooling bills. There are free home repairs, insulation, windows, HVAC tune ups and other benefits. The enhancements to a residence can also address some minor health and safety needs of a home. Learn more on the weatherization program.





Discounted or free government phone or internet programs - States as well as the federal government offer resources to help pay phone bills, with a focus on cellular units. There are two main services available. Some public assistance programs will even give out a free phone to a senior or low-income family. The benefits from them vary, but the options are as follows.

  • There are free cell phone programs for people already on public aid. Families that are currently receiving benefits, such as food stamps, Medicaid, section 8 or LIHEAP for their energy bills, will often automatically qualify for a free government phone.
  • States also offer discounts on monthly service charges or deposits to establish service. These public assistance programs vary by state but will help households save money. Find how to get public assistance for paying phone bills.
  • The FCC, working with telephone and cable companies, offers families who receive public assistance free or low cost computers and Internet service. The goal it to help students and adults have Internet access for school, job training, work, and other needs. Find details on applying for discounted internet service from the Affordable Connectivity Program.

Government health care benefits and public assistance for medical

Medicaid insurance - Health care, insurance and government benefits are offered to low-income families who either have inadequate medical insurance or completely lack coverage or the unemployed. While the federal government sets some guidelines and regulations on this public benefit, your state administers Medicaid and determines eligibility conditions. Find a listing of free health and dental care programs.

  • Free stuff for people on Medicaid from government benefits - There are several government agencies, non-profits, and public aid programs that provide free items. It ranges from transportation for Medicaid patients to grant money, infant cribs, tablets or smartphones, medical equipment and more. Learn how families on Medicaid will get free stuff.

CHIP Benefits (State Children's Health Insurance Program) - Most states offer this public health care coverage to children whose parents lack adequate medical insurance. It is offered for families whose income is too high for Medicaid, but who still can’t afford to pay their medical bills, get dental care or access private health insurance. Learn more on CHIP health insurance.




Medicare from the government - This is the primary federal government health insurance benefit program. The main recipients are people over 65 years of age as well as individuals under age 65 with certain disabilities. Most seniors sign up for the Medicare public insurance program as soon as they meet age limits. Call 1-800-633-4227.

Government funded dental clinics - There are free clinics near you that rely on government grants to operate. As a result, they provide free dental care, oral surgery, teeth replacement and other services to low-income families and those with no insurance. Locate a free government dental clinic.

Prescription drug coverage - Certain Medicare beneficiaries can also sign up for additional public assistance for their RXs. There are insurance programs near you that help lower the costs of prescription medications. Consumers have the ability to select their plan based on the monthly premium and benefits offered.

  • Some of the assistance is offered as part of a Private Fee-for-Service Plan, which means it is run by an insurance company. Clients will still need to pay a portion of their prescription drug costs. There will be vouchers, coupons, and public aid. Locate free prescription programs.

Funeral, burial and cremation help from public assistance - Many state and local government provide this, for free, to the very-low income, families with no money or life insurance or indigent. Free cremation is offered to the poor, indigent and uninsured from public aid or charity agencies. Governments try to ensure each person is cremated and/or buried in a human way. Locate funeral or cremation assistance.

Cash assistance, money, and public assistance for bills

Senior public assistance and free money - Senior citizens, ranging from age from 60 to 65, will be able to apply for free money from the federal government. There are several benefits, public aid programs, grants and benefits that will help older people. Learn more on senior free money programs from the government.

Child and free government subsidized day care - The federal government provides block grants to each state in an effort to subsidize child care expenses. The public aid is for low income, working parents, single mothers or those in school or job training who meet the qualifications of the program. Most states do have a waiting list for the free government day care vouchers or cheap child care providers. There are also a number of conditions that need to be met by parents who are applying. Find government assistance for child care.







Disability public assistance programs - Individuals with a short or long term disability can receive financial aid from several government benefits and public assistance programs. Some form of compensation, including free grants may be provided from SSDI or SSI. There is also FMLA for short term disability, from both the government and a company. Get applications for disability assistance.

  • Social Security Disability Insurance Benefit and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) - Public assistance is paid out to people who are unable to work because of a disability that has lasted for at least 12 months. In order to apply for government benefits, the person needs to have earned enough credits from the social security program. One of the primary government financial assistance programs. It provides a monthly cash stipend to the blind or disabled, individuals who are at least age 65, and who meet income and asset conditions. Call 1 (800) 772-1213.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) - This public assistance program is run at the state level. It will provide free government cash assistance to low-income families with kids. Funds can be used to pay for basic living expenses such as food, rent, utilities, housing, food and medications. It also requires parents undertake job preparation, work, and marriage. Local Department of Human Services (DHS) offices process applications for this government benefit.

  • Cash assistance from a local social service office near you will be time limited and require case management, budgeting, and the family will need to meet employment goals. In general, public aid, in the form of money from the government, will only be be provided to them while that process is underway. After all, the objective of any type of government benefit is to ensure people become or regain financial stability. Get information on how to apply for cash assistance from TANF.

Appeals for Disability Benefit Denials - Families that are denied access to public assistance can get help in appealing the decision. Lawyers or advocates can assist low income families as they try to receive the cash aid, food stamps, housing, or other benefits that they are entitled too. Find help with public assistance denials.

Public loan programs - The federal government may issue loans to some families as part of their public assistance. Funds may help the disabled while they wait on a SSI check, support senior citizens before they receive social security retirement funds, or pay for other bills such as home or car repairs and others. A number of agencies can be involved in providing government loans.

Public housing near you and government rent assistance

Section 8 housing choice voucher - Rental assistance and government subsidized housing is available to very low-income families. It is administered at the county level by Public Housing Agencies (PHAs). The program allows many people the ability to afford safe, decent, and sanitary public housing, including private landlord rented apartments, townhomes and single family houses. Continue with HUD section 8 vouchers.

Housing counseling from government agencies - Free or low cost advice and consultations are paid for by the federal government. There are non-profit HUD organizations near you. Renters and homeowners can get support, including public assistance as a form of mortgage relief, money for buying a home, renting, defaults, credit counseling issues and reverse mortgages. Locate government HUD organization.





Government job training programs

Employment services and job training - In order to get any public aid or money from the government, most states will also require that beneficiaries in any public or government assistance programs be actively seeking employment. This can mean they need to be undergoing job training, attending classes and be aggressively looking for work.

  • Government assistance programs from the Department of Labor can help individuals who are developing work skills or trying to find a job. Some resources can help people find a job, offer individual skills assessments, provide referral and placement assistance, and also reemployment services to unemployment insurance claimants. Dial 1-877-872-5627.

Adult education and career services - Individuals who are over 18 years of age can counseling, education services (such as GED), help in developing an individual employment plan, and training. Other government programs provide transportation services and public assistance programs can also help pay for childcare. Call 877-872-5627.Government and public assistance

Senior Community Service Employment Program -
Low income people who are at least 55 years of age can qualify for SCSEP. Participants can receive a part time job, the income that comes with that, training, and possibly even other government benefits. More on the senior employment program.

One-Stop Career Centers and the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) - Supports job seekers, businesses, and even people who are currently employed. The centers can help clients obtain employment and apply for free job training workshops and assist businesses with finding qualified employees. Access career counseling near you, job search and job placement assistance services, grants to pay for learning materials, education, and other employment resources. Learn more on One Stop Centers and Workforce investment.

Other public aid, social services and government benefits

Public assistance programs for children and students - The Early Head Start program (which is for infants and pregnant women) as well as Head Start (for children up to age 5) can help children prepare for school. The government provides other social services. Receive other public assistance such as comprehensive educational, nutritional, food, free dental, and health care. Child care can also be provided too. Get more information on Head Start programs.

Free income tax filing - Those who can’t afford to file their returns can use the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. It is paid for using government funds and it offers free advice and income tax help to low income individuals and senior citizens who cannot afford to pay for professional assistance. People can also E-file your state and federal income taxes for free in many states. Learn more on filing for income tax help.




Public assistance for single mothers - The federal government has public aid that helps parents, with a focus on single moms, that have no money. A wide variety of social services, government grants, hunger prevention as well as housing programs are offered. A major focus is on ensuring the kids have a health and safe environment to reside in. More on public assistance for single mothers.

Government and public assistance near you by state

There are public assistance offices in each state, as noted below. Staff from each office can go over the details of the local assistance near you as well as any government benefits. Case workers can also answer questions on who funds the public aid as well as provide further details on what it is and how to apply.






























New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota





Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota









West Virginia


Conclusion - List of public aid and government benefits

Every state, city, as well as county offers some form of public assistance as well as government benefits  to low income families, those living in poverty, or households facing a short or even long term crisis. There may be job programs or cash assistance to the unemployed or disabled, or other public or government aid to the elderly or someone on medical leave or households in any other number of emergencies. Benefits from the government are for the unemployed, workers that have had their income reduced, or even immigrants. Read more on public benefit aid in US.

More information on the public assistance programs near you can be found by contacting and applying at a state social or human service office. Taxpayer funds pay for these benefits, and low income or struggling households can get the help they need from government aid.


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