Top government programs for low-income families - Part 1 Of 3
The federal government manages safety net programs, also known as welfare programs, to aid low-income Americans and to protect families from poverty. These programs are essentially government subsidies that help offset the costs of everything from health insurance to food to education, so that families in need can save their resources to help further their own economic growth.
Or, in simpler terms, there are a whole range of federal programs out there to help low-income people so that there basic needs are met. That way they can focus on their own security, growth, health, safety and development. The federal government provides the funding for welfare programs, while states administer them and provide additional funds.
There are savings on health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. There's access to affordable housing through rental assistance programs. There's access to low- and no-cost early childhood education through Head Start. There is food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). And fortunately, those aren't the only government assistance programs out there. From the Supplemental Social Security Program to the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), here's our guide to the top 10 government programs available to low-income families.
Who qualifies for low-income government programs?
Recipients of these kind of government benefits must prove their income is below a set amount, which is some percentage of the federal poverty level
. Most programs also require you to be a United States citizen or an eligible non-citizen. And many programs have state requirements based on family size and details about combined family income.
Federal poverty level (FPL)
Through executive order, the Trump administration has called for the introduction of work requirements to receive some of these welfare benefits. President Trump doubled down on this concept, tying them into the 2020 fiscal budget he introduced. For now, the government agencies and departments that administer these programs are developing ways to introduce work requirements into many of these programs.
And don't forget that welfare programs are not entitlement programs by definition. Entitlement programs, like Social Security and unemployment insurance, determine eligibility based on prior contributions from payroll taxes. Welfare programs, however, are based solely on a family's income level, and thus level of need.
Now let's look at each of these government programs in more detail: