With today’s economy ,the housing market in a slump, the job market down and so many Americans out of work, many families are struggling just to put food. In many cases families are faced with having to choose between food and utilities. For many families facing these situations, there is a little help out there if they meet the requirements. The government has Assistance programs to help pay bills. Here is an overview of some Government Assistance Programs that help pay bills.
Electric and Heating Bills
The (LIHEAP) Low income home energy assistance program is a federal assistance program that helps pay electric bills based on poverty income guidelines. LIHEAP is available once every 12 months for those who qualify, but under certain situations help can be found here again in only six months. For those who don’t qualify for LIHEAP the care to share program is available to customers of the FPL company through the Salvation Army. Once again though they have certain requirements that need to be met.
Home Heating Oil
Citizens Energy Oil Heat Program is a program that the Federal Government has in partnership with Citgo to provide a one time, annual home heating oil delivery of up to 100 gallons to needy families at lower costs or absolutely free in 24 States depending on your income and needs. Help for the Oil Heat Program ca be found by calling a 1-877-563-4645 for information and an application.
Phone Bill Assistance
To insure that everyone has affordable phone service available to them the government has a couple different assistance programs for phone service. The first program is called Life Line. Life Line give a discount on local phone services up to $15 depending on the state. Another program Link Up will help pay up to 50% of insulation costs up to $50 to have a phone installed in a persons home. When installation costs exceed what a person can afford the government program will even provide interest free loans for up to one year to a maximum of $300 for installation costs of a home phone. A third component of the phone assistance program offers free cell phones and service of up to 250 minutes a month for needy families. Two of the programs offering the free cell phones are safelink and assurance. This helps insure that people with needs for a cell phone such as not having a home phone or having an ill family member who may need a phone for medical purposes, will have a phone available to them. As with any government assistance program these have criteria that must be met.
Food Bill Assistance
As with everything else these days the cost of food is also rising. For families needing help with food bills the SNAP program, WIC,NSIP, SFMNP, and the SFSP are available programs to reduce or cover food bills for families in need.
SNAP(Cupplemental assistance nutrition program) is the Program formerly known as food stamps. Snap is available for needy family who meet the income and assest guidelines under poverty levels.
WIC (women, infants and children) is a program that offers nutritious foods to pregnant and post par tum women as well as infants and children five years of age and younger.
NSIP(nutrition services incentive program) is a nuitrition Program for the elderly. It is available for persons 60 years of age and older.
SFMNP(senior’s farmeers market nutritional program) is another program offered to citizens age 60 or older. This program gives seniors coupons and vouchers that they can use at grocery stores, farmers markets and participating roadside fruit stands during harvest time to exchange for fruits and vegetables.
The School lunch and breakfast assistance program is available for children in school who meet the income requirements or whose household receive snap benefits. Under this program children receive free or reduced breakfast and lunch meals at school.
SFSP (summer food service program) is a summer food service program that offers needy children free meals and snacks during times that school is not in session such as the summer and winter breaks.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program is another food program that is design for a specific group. This program provides meals for the needy in approved day care facilities and health care centers across the nation.
Medicaid is a government program offered to needy families meeting the income and other requirements. This program offers free medical and dental care as well as medications for qualifying persons. Persons who meet the income guidelines can qualify for medicaid and get free health care or shared cost portion.
Section 8 is a government funded program that offers low subsidized rental housing. Section 8 housing is a program under the government where local communities actually own certain properties where persons who qualify can find housing very cheap. Under the section 8 program there is another program known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program. This is a program is where persons who qualify can get rental vouchers under section 8 to pay their landlords and stay in a qualifying home of their choice. Other government funded programs for help with housing and rent include HUD, USDA, and the Veterans Affairs agency.
Other help available may be found in your local communities through Churches and other non profit organizations. To find help contact your local social services department.