Public assistance in Texas.

Resources, including public assistance and government programs, can assist struggling families in Texas. Many of the social service type programs are for low income families with children, senior citizens, and the disabled. They focus on meeting basic and critical needs. This can include providing food, groceries, cash assistance job opportunities, and medical bill assistance.

A summary of the various public programs in Texas by city and county are below. You can call your local social service office to get information or apply. Or learn more by dialing Texas Health and Human Services at 877-541-7905.

Job training is offered from the Texas Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Employment and Training program. It can help low income families and individuals acquire long-term independence and self-sufficiency by preparing clients for work and by helping them find a job. Access a wide variety of employment services through job training activities as well as more general work-related education.

The main objective of the Employment and Training program is to assist food stamp and SNAP recipients to both help them find and maintain employment. This can include using programs such as the provision of a resource known as work opportunities for 18- to 50-year-old Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs). Individuals can also get help through participation in education, training activities, and public work programs.

Texas Health Steps - Free dental checkups and medical care is offered for children, young adults age 20 and younger as well as teenagers. All can get help, including prescriptions, from the federal government Medicaid program or other state resources. Texas Health Steps can provide qualified individuals with free health and/or dental care, and there are also medications for free from the state or drug companies.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in Texas (at one point called Aid to Families) can provide cash as well as public aid to qualified low income or poor families in Texas. Different types of social services as well as medical and financial assistance is provided to children as well as their parents. Funds can help people pay bills and provide for their families.





TANF in Texas can offer households various types of Medicaid benefits and health care, and qualified individuals can also receive monthly cash disbursements. State and government funds are used to provide cash assistance to eligible families who need help due to the unemployment or underemployment of a parent. Read more details on Texas TANF cash assistance.

Texas Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help families feed their families. It is the government run food stamp type program, and it is administered at the state level by the Texas Department of Human Services (DHS). You can learn more from your local county social service office. Applicants also need to apply in their county. SNAP is paid for by public funds and it can help the working poor and low-income families buy groceries on a monthly basis. Vouchers are provided in the form of debit cards, and they are accepted at many supermarkets and retailers across Texas. SNAP assistance is available to qualifying seniors, elderly people, families, and single adults.

Texas Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) can help people pay their electric and utility bills. It was created to help low income households across Texas in paying for a host of energy bills bills and assist them in addressing their immediate energy needs. In addition, the government utility program will also encourage clients to control energy costs for years to come through various conservation tactics as well as  education.

The Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program provides financial assistance and cash grants to low income families, senior citizens, and disabled households. These individuals historically have been most vulnerable to the high cost of energy bills, and often need public assistance in paying for home cooling and heating bills that may result from fluctuations in energy use. So CEAP can offer financial assistance and grants, and it can pay up to four of the client’s highest utility bills during the year. In addition, the resource can provide assistance during severe weather, supply shortages or in an energy-related crisis.

Private health insurance can be paid for by the Health Insurance Premium Payment. It is a federal government Medicaid type program that helps families pay for health insurance and the resulting medical bills. It can help families that receive private health insurance, or those that have a child or a spouse with Medicaid.

This Medicaid service will pay the Texas family's private health insurance bills if the total cost of that insurance is less than the total cost of health care if the patient had Medicaid. The total cost of the insurance includes the coinsurance, deductibles, as well as the premium. The entire family’s cost will be paid for too by the Department of Human Services.

Medical transportation in Texas is available. If you need a ride to the dentist, doctor, or a local drug store in order to access your Medicaid services, dial 1-877-633-8747 for transportation.




Texas Medicaid Wellness Program – This state government funded resource is special health program for people who have long-lasting or serious health conditions and who also receive public assistance from Medicaid. Some of the serious health conditions covered include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, and more.

Texas Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Medical Plans can provide free or low cost insurance and medical assistance to children and/or mothers who are pregnant, which is called perinatal coverage. Dental Services are also provided by CHIP in Texas.

All teenagers and children with CHIP medical coverage will receive their health and dental services through a CHIP dental or medical plan. Most children and teens with Medicaid coverage will also get access to various social services and receive their dental assistance through a Medicaid dental plan. In total, there are three primary dental plans to choose from, and the parameters for each our below.

  • All low income Texas residents with government Medicaid, regardless of their age, who live in facilities such as Intermediate Care Facilities for Mentally Retarded Persons (ICFs/MR), nursing homes, or state of Texas supported living centers can qualify.
  • Low income people with Medicaid who are age 21 and older can get medical care from CHIP.
  • Last, but not least, children and young adults in the state’s foster care program who receive their dental services through STAR Health can qualify.

The Head Start program in Texas can support children up to five years of age. There are two components of it, and they include an Early Head Start program (which is for pregnant women, infants, and toddlers) as well as Head Start, which is for lower income families with children who range in age from three to five.

Head Start will foster school readiness and educational opportunities for children in low-income families by providing both the child as well as the entire family with educational resources, basic health care and advice, and nutritional/food aid. The state government in Texas also realizes that parents are key, so therefore the child’s parent will need to play a large role in the program. For example, social services and job finding programs can be made available to parents. Parents can also access additional assistance, such as financial assistance with paying for childcare. Services are also available to migrant and seasonal farm worker families too. Head Start programs provide pre-literacy and literacy experiences in a multi-cultural environment.

Save money on cooling and utility bills from the Texas Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). This is a free program to income qualified families, and it can assist them with the weatherization of their homes. Priority is given to low-income disabled adults, elderly and families with children. The energy conservation program is administered in all 254 counties from a total of almost 30 non-profit community action agencies and local governments. Some of the weatherization activities include caulking, floor and attic insulation, storm windows, and other related activities to reduce home energy costs and increase home energy efficiency. All are offered at no cost to income qualified residents.

Assistance for military members - The Texas Veterans Of Foreign Wars Department offers assistance for members of our military, veterans, and their family members. The two main resources are Unmet Needs as well as Operation Uplink. Public funds are used to provide grants and financial assistance to those that are qualified. Money can be provided for a number of bills, including rent, utilities, transportation, medical costs, and other emergency expenses. Read Texas Unmet needs.

The Texas Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) can provide free food, groceries, and support to new mothers, pregnant women, and young children of low income families. This can help families and importantly children learn about nutrition, eat well, and in general stay healthy. The public funded WIC program can also offer nutrition education and counseling, nutritious foods, and help people find access to health care. All of this, and much more, is provided to low-income women, infants, and children through the Texas Special Supplemental Nutrition or WIC Program.





Government funds for child and day care expenses are provided by your local Texas Workforce Solutions office. The state will help pay a portion of your costs, provided the applicant meets certain guidelines. While the terms of the program will vary, in general the parent needs to be working, attending some type of job training, or going to school. This can either be full or part time. There is often a waiting list for this Texas program. Read Texas child care programs.

Assistance from Texas Counties and Cities

Bell County

Bexar County

Brazoria County

Brazos County

Cameron County

Collin County

Dallas County

Denton County

El Paso County

Fort Bend County

Lubbock County

Nueces County

Tarrant County

Williamson County

By Jon McNamara

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