Government Programs available for Low Income Families

There are more low-income working families now than there were ten years ago. Many of these low-income households are working full time, but have incomes less than the poverty level. There are government programs available for these low-income families. These programs are not charity or a handout but assistance to help them have a better quality of life. Also, to help reduce households expenses to be able improve the families financial situation. The advancements in technology have made it easier to find, and in some cases apply for low-income government program right here on the internet. The following three programs are just a sample of the available assistance available for low-income families.

Free Phone Service – The Lifeline Program

The Lifeline Program gives free or discounted telephone service to low-income households. An eligible household can select a free cell or landline telephone. There are federal default states for this program which are Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Dakota and South Dakota. Residents living in one of the federal default state will be eligibility for the Lifeline program if the household is already enrolled in one of the following government programs:

Federal Public Housing Assistance

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program


National School Lunch Program

Supplemental Security Income

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

A low-income household not enrolled in a government program can also be eligible if their income level is below 135 percent of the federal poverty line.

For residents living in other states, there are plenty of Lifeline service providers to choose from. To be enrolled in the Lifeline program, the household has to meet the specific qualifications of the service provider. All of the service providers require enrollment in another government program. The differences between the service providers are which government programs households must already be enrolled with. There are a few service providers in the non-federal default states, but not many that also enroll households based on income levels.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a government program established in 1981 to assist low income families with their home heating and cooling expenses. The program is well known for the partial payments payable to a client’s utility company. LIHEAP is available in all fifty states, U.S. territories and tribal governments. Each state, territory or tribal government is given a specific amount of funding for the LIHEAP program every year. To qualify for LIHEAP assistance, low income household must have an income less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level or 60 percent of their state median poverty level.

LIHEAP also enrolls low – income families with the Weatherization Assistance Programs (WAP). It was established in 1976 to help low income households reduce their energy costs. Qualified families have their homes analyzed to determine the most efficient weatherization measures to reduce energy costs. Trained technicians make the necessary repairs and improvements which may include replacement of any broken windows, insulate walls, windows and doors, install weather-stripping and repair or replace combustion appliances.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is funded partially by the government and the state which offers the coverage through their employers. Also, these families cannot afford to purchase private health insurance. Each state which already operates a federally approved program can offer health coverage through CHIP to uninsured children up to the age of nineteen. The typical households who apply for CHIP are low income but have an income too high to qualify for Medicaid. CHIP covers children for routine office visits, immunizations, hospital visits, dental care, and prescription medications.

The government programs available for low–income families are not just for families receiving financial assistance in the way of a monthly check. There are many programs low-income working families can qualify for such as a free cell phone or repairs to better weatherize your home. The government programs were designed to help all low–income households but not as a permanent solution. However, using these programs when they help the most may just be what you need to improve your financial situation so you no longer need any type of assistance.