Other Government Assistance Programs You May Qualify for in Pennsylvania

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In addition to unemployment benefits, there are several government aid programs available to eligible state residents. Since being unemployed can be tough, and seeking new work can be both time-consuming and costly, there are other options to assist you along the way. Below, review several additional programs offered by the state of Pennsylvania to assist you as you collect unemployment benefits.

  • Food Programs
  • Child Programs
  • LIHEAP
  • TANF
Food Programs

There are many federal programs which help low-income families get food, including SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP provides qualified applicants with monthly stipends to purchase healthy groceries from participating vendors. In addition, SNAP participants should look at is the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). NSLP works with both public and private schools, as well as other child care institutions in the state. The program offers free lunches to students at any of these locations. Like SNAP, this program focuses on providing nutritious food. Normally, applicants for NSLP have to meet a certain income level to qualify. However, applicants that are already part of SNAP can automatically get added to the program.

An extension of NSLP is the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). SFSP focuses on providing free nutritious meals during the summer, when school is not normally in session. Although the program emphasizes helping children, it technically applies to anyone that is under the age of 18. Unlike NSLP, SNAP participants will not automatically be enrolled into this program, but there is a good chance they meet all of the income requirements.

Another food program is Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The WIC program is aimed at a more generalized group, but it pairs up very well with SNAP benefits. WIC is a little more restricted in what participants can buy, using generalized food groups instead of letting participants purchase whatever food they want like with SNAP. The program also offers limited health care to participants, which is especially important for infants and children. The income requirements are very similar to SNAP, so it is unlikely SNAP participants will not be able to qualify.

Child Programs

CHIP stands for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. CHIP helps out families that make too much money to qualify for Medicaid coverage, but are still unable to afford private health insurance plans. Anyone up to the age of 19 may be able to qualify for CHIP coverage. Another benefit of CHIP is that it is not solely limited to United States citizens. There are income requirements for CHIP, but they are much higher compared to other federal aid programs. For example, a household of two can make a little over $48,000 and still be eligible for free CHIP coverage.

Head Start is another aid program aimed at helping children. Head Start helps children of low-income families prepare for school by providing special educational programs. These programs focus on things like language, social development and literacy. The programs are very in depth, and Head Start instructors work with families to create a strong support system. Head Start is meant for children under the age of 6, but it also has a program for pregnant women. Compared to other aid programs, Head Start does have very strict income eligibility requirements.

LIHEAP

LIHEAP is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The program helps out low-income families that cannot pay their energy bills. LIHEAP primarily helps with heating and cooling houses, which is very important, given how unpredictable Pennsylvania weather can be during the summer and winter months. The program has a few different options. It primarily helps with paying bills, but it can also pay for energy-related repairs and upgrades around the house.

TANF

TANF stands for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. TANF is one of the more involved federal aid programs, since it focuses on several areas. TANF helps low-income families provide for their children, and it offers job preparation for adults while providing limited counseling services for families. TANF also provides general cash assistance for low-income families. Applicants that are accepted into TANF must agree to enter into the TANF workforce program, otherwise they will lose their benefits. The workforce program is similar to the SNAP work requirements, but TANF is a little more involved. However, the TANF agency actively works with participants to make sure they meet all of the requirements.