Although some people are embarrassed when they apply for aid, it is important to remember that this system was created to give you assistance when you need it most.
The kind and amount of aid that is available to dependent children and individuals varies from one state to another. Once the Federal Government returned the welfare assistance programs back over to each individual state, the one-source and one-set of requirements discontinued.
The majority of the states offer basic aids to eligible citizens. These aids include health care (Medicaid), child-care assistance, food stamps, cash aid (TANF), housing assistance (HUD), unemployment compensation benefits and SSI.
Fully understanding the application process for welfare requires that you know that the general information is provided through the government, even though each state outlines its own set of eligibility requirements.
By familiarizing yourself with the basic information, you will then be able to contact your state to find out what specific requirements you must meet.
For instance, to receive Medicaid you are not required to be eligible to receive welfare as well. The state cannot limit Medicaid eligibility to a family that is already receiving or is entitled to collect TANF benefits. In fact, it is mandatory that all the states provide Medicaid to all families that have the following circumstances:
- Certain kinds of deprivation (an absent parent, etc.)
- Still have the identical income and resources that allowed them to qualify for TANF.
- A dependent child is residing within the home.
All the states regulations must be identical for all applicants that apply for assistance, as well as the recipients. It is mandatory that all the rules and regulations be identical throughout the entire state.
Welfare Program Eligibility Requirements
Welfare program eligibility depends on numerous factors.
Program eligibility will be determined according to the following information:
- Applicant must be a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residency (there may be some exceptions to the citizenship rules)
- Applicant's household member’s citizen statuses are also reviewed (residency requirements vary by state)
- Social Security Numbers are required for all members of the household (including children). Those without a Social Security Number must apply for a number and then provide proof to the caseworker that they have applied.
- Income, gross and net
- Family size
Crisis situation including:
When an individual applies for aid, a caseworker is assigned to assist her. All the necessary information for determining her eligibility for benefits and which benefits she qualifies to receive will be gathered by her caseworker.
Applying for Assistance Using the Internet
You can find all the forms you need online by entering your zipcode above to find the website for your state.
Applying for Assistance without the Internet
If you cannot access the internet to apply, you need to contact your local Human Services Department. The address and phone number will be in the government section of your phone book. It could be listed under several names including Family Services, Human Services or Adult and Family Services. They will inform you where you can pick-up the necessary paperwork to apply for aid.
If you need assistance filling out this paperwork, they will help you fill it out. They will also ensure that you understand the entire process of applying for aid. An appointment for you to come in and have your interview will be scheduled. If you need transportation to your interview, be sure to inquire about it. Some states have a service that will bring you to your interview.
Your caseworker will inform you what documents are required to begin the process of determining your eligibility for assistance.
Common documents that are asked for include:
- ID or Driver’s License
- Proof of Residency Utility Bills
- Proof of Income
- Social Security Card(s)
After the completion of your appointment, a caseworker will review:
- Your applications for the various types of aid
- The required documents you have submitted
- Information that you provided during your meeting
All of this information will be used to determine your eligibility. One of the most important things to remember is that if you have questions just ask. The people helping you apply for assistance are there to help you, but if you do not ask your question, they are not able to answer it for you.