If you’ve lost your job, gotten into too much debt or just have trouble making ends meet on your low income, there are programs and organizations that can assist you with medical expenses, utility bills, groceries, clothing and other expenses. Finding the low-income assistance that you need can be daunting if you don’t know where to start, but resources are available to help you locate charities and programs that can ease some of your financial stress.
Call your local social services or human services office to ask where and how to apply for financial assistance. State and local offices have government programs to provide monetary assistance to needy families, known as welfare programs or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
Determine if you are eligible for food stamps under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by using the pre-screening eligibility tool on their webpage (see link in Resources). Your local social services office can help you apply for benefits if you qualify.
Ask your social services office about applying for Medicaid, a government program to provide free and low-cost health care to low-income individuals and families who do not have medical insurance.
Contact local food banks in your area for additional assistance with food. Second Harvest, Angel Food Ministries and local churches often have food banks available for needy families. Low-income families with young children may be eligible for WIC or CSFP benefits as well.
Contact your local Salvation Army office for information on what types of assistance they offer to low-income families in your area.
Call your gas and electric companies to see if they have programs to help low-income individuals with utility bills.
Call (866) 674-6327 to find out how to apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The United States Department of Health and Human Services offers LIHEAP to qualifying low-income individuals and families to help with heating and cooling expenses.
Visit the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s website at nlihc.org for information on low-income housing in your area. State and local offices can help low-income families find affordable housing.
Ask your local social services office for information on other programs and organizations in your area that assist low-income individuals and families. Programs vary from state to state, and the human services or social services department in your area will be your best source of information.