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Financial Assistance, Iowa,

Iowa’s Family Investment Program (TANF)

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What You Need To Know

Iowa’s Family investment plan (FIP) is a TANF program-Temporary Assistance Program for Needy Families, to improve the economic condition of low-income families by providing them financial assistance for a prescribed period of time, enabling them to become self-sufficient. Iowa’s FIP can uplift the financial situation of a family on a temporary basis, up to 60-months only. The Family investment program allows children of low-income families, to be cared in their own houses or of their relatives.

For families to enroll themselves in the support program, they must meet income and assets requirements. Most importantly, they must have an under 18 in the house, gaining an education. Moreover, they must be legally recognized citizens or refugees and able to participate in work, training or educational services to fulfill their needs by themselves in the coming future.

Besides the monthly cash assistance, economic support is also provided to the participants of FIP via Promise Jobs program –Promoting Independence and Self-Sufficiency through Employment, Job, Opportunity and Basic Skills. The Promise Jobs program not only provides training and workforce skills to the participants but the program itself pay for the allowances such as transportation of the participants.

Every applicant of Iowa’s Family investment program (FIP) must co-ordinate with Iowa’s state department and management of FIP. An agreement of self-sufficiency plan- known as Family Investment Agreement (FIA), must also be signed by the applicants and case manager of PROMISE JOBS for the applicants to get approved. The Family investment agreement (FIA) would include the terms that mention the steps family must take, in order to reach their goal of self-sufficiency. Once an applicant is approved for the FIP, he must follow the terms agreed in FIA in order to continue to receive financial assistance for up to 60 months. In case of Hardship extensions, the FIP limit may extend by 6 months at most.

The ultimate goal of Iowa’s Family Investment Plan (FIP) is to enable low-income families to reach financial independence and stability, by increasing their participation in the workforce department (WD).

Who Administers The Program?

Iowa’s Family investment program (FIP) is administered by ACF-Administration for Children and Families, while all the Iowa’s Community Action Agencies are administered by the Department of Human Rights at whole.

Eligibility Criteria

The requirements for a candidate to qualify for the Family Investment Program (FIP) includes the applicant being a legally recognized US citizen or a foreigner. The applicant must be a resident of Iowa and provide all necessary information to determine eligibility and level of benefit in the program. In addition, he must be willing to co-operate with the FIP department and be identified as a needy of Family Investment Program (FIP) by the case manager of PROMISE JOBS. Moreover, the applicant must provide the FIP officials with social security number and he must meet income and resource limit of the program which varies accordingly.

How To Apply?

Those applicants who fulfill the eligibility criteria of the program may apply at any DHS office throughout the country. After filling in the necessary details in the application form, the applicants may mail or individually take it to the local DHS office according to their own convenience. In the case of expedited processing, the applicant may also apply through OASIS –virtual platform to apply for Iowa’s services.


(800) 972-2017


Food Stamps, Iowa,

Iowa’s National School Breakfast and Lunch Program

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What You Need To Know

Iowa’s National school breakfast and lunch program provides nutritious and healthy breakfasts and lunches to the school children at extremely reasonable costs. This program is funded federally to assist schools in order to provide cheap or even free meals at the schools. Approximately, more than 72000 schools are currently offering affordable breakfasts at their institutes, and around 92000 schools offer lunch to the students throughout the country. In addition, few educational institutes also provide a mid-day or evening snack as a part of their after school program. The meals provided must strictly meet the nutrient and dietary requirements of the children as well as ensuring the quality of meals. The ultimate goal of Iowa’s National school breakfast and lunch program is to reduce the burden on low-income families by providing meals to their school-going children.

Who Administers The Program?

The National school breakfast and lunch program is overseen mutually by the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Federal Nutrition Service (FNS) throughout the country. In Iowa particularly the program is funded and administered by, Bureau of Nutrition Program and Health Services.

Benefits of Participation

Iowa’s National school breakfast and lunch program offers a diverse array of benefits for children, their guardians and educational institutes alike. As far as children are concerned, the National breakfast and lunch program provides a nutrient and calorie-rich meal that fulfills approximately one-third of a child’s daily recommended dietary requirements.

For guardians, the program provides them the opportunity to provide nutritious yet affordable lunches to their children, thus reducing the financial burden on the parents. As far as schools go, providing a balanced meal plan to their students can significantly improve cognitive, physical and mental functioning, thus improving academic performance at whole. Research has backed the importance of a nutritious diet in reducing disciplinary and attendance issues in primary and secondary children.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for Iowa’s National School breakfast and lunch program, the child must have been enrolled in an educational institute; currently receiving an education (up till high school or under). Enrollment in the program and the acquisition of subsidized and low-cost meal plan is reserved for children and families that meet the specified yearly income and household standards set up by the FNS department and Iowa’s department of education. In addition, the family and child opting for the program must be a permanent and a legal resident of the state of Iowa. Moreover, Agencies and staff members reserve the right to opt any child accordingly for the program, by verifying resources of their parents as well as dismissing anyone from the program; thus, ensuring the resources to be delivered to the most deserving students only.

In order to verify eligibility for Iowa’s National breakfast and lunch program, one must refer to the criteria of maximum income per year according to the family size set up by the FNS department, as shown below:

Size Of The Household Maximum Annual Income Level ($)
1 $22,459
2 $30,451
3 $38,443
4 $46,435
5 $54,427
6 $62,419
7 $70,411
8 $78,403


For Further Information

For further details regarding Iowa’s School Breakfast Program, kindly visit the Iowa School Breakfast Program webpage.

In case of further inquiry regarding Iowa’s School Lunch Program, kindly, visit the Iowa School Lunch Program webpage.

You may also call the representative at The Bureau of Food and Nutrition to get further details regarding the program at- 515-281-4754



Education & Training, Iowa,

Iowa Head Start

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What You Need To Know

To ensure school readiness of children from birth to age 5, Iowa Head Start has been set up. It is a federal program that provides low-income families through school readiness. It helps contribute to their social, emotional and cognitive development. A learning environment is set up to support this growth. Head Start considers the most important teacher to be the parents. Therefore, this role is emphasized in the program. It is aimed at building relationships with families. This helps to keep the well-being as well as other important aspects in check. Iowa Head Start has been administered by ACF (Administration for Children and Families).

There are also Early Head Start programs provided at times that are focused on infants, toddlers, and pregnant women. The families of these infants and women must have incomes that are below the federal poverty level. This locally operated program is present in 98 of the 99 Iowa counties and is operated by eighteen programs. The services involved in this comprehensive program include the following benefits:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Family and Community Partnerships
  • Health – that involves oral and mental health services as well
  • Services for Children with Disabilities

These services can help Head Start to achieve its objective of playing a major role in improving education in America. It hopes to eliminate the adverse effects of poverty that future generations may face. Therefore, their program wishes to tackle the financial and familial struggles involved in the education of children.

Are You Eligible?

Low-income families that have children till the age of five present in their households are eligible. Their incomes are compared with the Federal poverty guidelines. A requirement of these families is in regard to the annual household income. Their earning is considered before the tax deduction and should, therefore, be less than or equal to the following:

Household Size Maximum Income Level ($)
1 12,490
2 16,910
3 21,330
4 25,750
5 30,170
6 34,590
7 39,010
8 43,430

In case there are more than eight residents present in a household, an additional $4,420 is added per person. It is vital to keep in touch with the managing agency in your area. It will keep you informed about the most recent and accurate guidelines to be followed.

At some points, children are also considered for Head Start regardless of their income. This is for those children who:

  • Are in foster care
  • Homeless
  • Are from families that have assistance like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Supplemental Security Income.

There is also a specific enrollment percentage considered for children of families with income that is above the poverty guidelines. This is an approximate 10%. Moreover, Head Start programs also consider the enrollment of children from families who fall in the middle area. 35% of the children that are catered to belong to families with incomes that are above the poverty guidelines, but below 130% of the poverty line. There are certain conditions involved that must be met concerning this.

Early Head Start also caters to pregnant women. Therefore, the community Head Start must be approached on time. They can find the necessary requirements for enrollment and follow them without any hurdles. The limited government funding means that there are limited seats available. To avoid such an occurrence, one must be vigilant. Even if the family is unable to enroll their child at that exact time, they can consider the waiting list.

There are many programs present to cater to the needs of such families. This means that a good step for these families would be to contact the program in their community. This way they will be able to gain accurate information and guidance they require.

How To Apply

The Head Start present in your community can be found through the Head Start Locator tools available online. It will allow you to get in contact with the local program which can answer any queries you have. Approaching them will also prove helpful in terms of document collections as the appropriate ones will be highlighted.

For Further Information

In instances where you wish to gain more information regarding the Iowa Head Start, you can call the toll-free number:


You can also simply visit the community Head Start through the help of the Head Start Locator.  Their website Iowa Head Start has other appropriate information that families may require. It not only has a resources tab but also a training calendar. These factors help to cater to families whose children are already enrolled as well as those who wish to be.


Housing, Iowa,

Iowa Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)

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What You Need To Know

LIHEAP is a program that helps low-income households to manage their home energy bills. Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is making winters and summers easier for people with low income. A program that helps low-income households in managing their home energy bills. It is a federally-funded program that helps increase safety for individuals. The LIHEAP program has proven effective in reducing any health issues as well as fires or evictions.

In Iowa, the LIHEAP program is aimed at providing you with different types of assistance, including:

  • Bill payment assistance
  • Energy crisis assistance
  • Weatherization and energy-related home repairs

Iowa LIHEAP program has been administered by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). The qualified households of this program are provided with a one-time payment. This is given in order to help them with their household heating, no matter what fuel type is used. It also goes hand in hand with the Weatherization program which helps to improve energy efficiency. The homes remain habitable with financial relief.

Are You Eligible?

To qualify for the LIHEAP Program, the homeowners or renters must be in line with the federal poverty guidelines. They must be at or below 175% of the 2017 guidelines. The annual household income before the deduction of taxes must be less than or equal to:

Household Size Annual Gross Income ($)
1 21,858
2 29,593
3 37,328
4 45,063
5 52,798
6 60,533
7 68,268
8 76,003

In instances where the households have more than eight residents, an additional $7,735 is added for each. It is important to stay in touch with the most recent guidelines. Therefore, the appropriate managing agency present in the area must be approached.

Eligibility for LIHEAP also usually allows you to apply for the Weatherization Assistance program. To avail this service, the applicant must be at or less than the following amounts:

Household Size Annual Gross Income ($)
1 24980
2 33820
3 42660
4 51500
5 60340
6 69180
7 78020
8 86860

If the household’s size is greater than eight than an addition $8,840 is added per person.

The payment received by the qualified applicants is, therefore, dependent upon various factors. Amongst these there are:

  • Household income
  • Household size
  • Type of Fuel Used
  • Type of Housing

LIHEAP’s objective is not to pay the whole bill but instead to cover the greatest needs. They wish to provide the necessary services for those that are unable to afford them. Eligibility also depends on factors like:

  • Are they applicants of other social programs such as SNAP, SSI, and TANF?
  • Are the applicants residents of the Iowa state as well as US citizens or registered legal aliens?
  • Is the heating system shut off?
  • Is the electric or gas heat shut off?
  • Are they out of or low on fuel?

If yes, then they are more likely to be eligible for the LIHEAP program.

How To Apply

The application process for this program can easily be found online. You can access the appropriate page through the Iowa Department of Human Rights website. In case, online is not the way for you, you can also contact your local outreach office. An appointment with an Iowa program representative must be set up through the local Division of Community Action Agencies. This representative will be able to carry out any necessary document verification. These documents are mentioned in the Iowa LIHEAP list that can be found on the website as well. Therefore, the representative can reject or accept your application.

Applications are opened from 1st November to 30th April every year. In the case of household members that are above 60 years or have a disability, the date is 1st October. These applications are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The “where to apply” page on the website allows you to see a network of agencies spread across the state. These offices are set up to make it easy for people to approach their local county office. They will help you concerning the application for services. You can simply locate your region’s office through the website which lists all the counties in Iowa.

The qualified applicant is notified as the payment is made to a utility or heating fuel vendor. This shows that the applicant is eligible for the protection of any energy utility disconnection. This is especially helpful in Iowa’s annual winter disconnection moratorium.

For Further Information

For contact purposes, you can simply access the Iowa LIHEAP page. More detailed and in-depth information can be found about LIHEAP through

  • LIHEAP State or Territory Agency
  • LIHEAP Indian Tribe or Tribal Organization agency


Healthcare, Iowa,

Iowa – IA Health Link

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What You Need To Know

IA Health Link helps people in paying for medical and healthcare costs. The Iowa Medicaid program is managed with the help of the Iowa Department of Human Services. The program is funded by the Federal and state government to support eligible residents of Iowa. Medicaid program is known to provide a variety of medical and healthcare services that are covered in cases of necessity. The members of the Medicaid program are provided through Managed Care Organizations (MCO). Those who are enrolled with MCO they can avail available services. However, sometimes the member is required to pay a small co-payment due to certain exceptions.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has administered the Iowa Medicaid Program. The new Medicaid program in Iowa, known as the IA Health link brings with it, new plans and new services. With the help of Amerigroup MCO, the members of this program can enjoy benefits that include:

  • Management of all health care needs through the primary care provider (PCP).
  • Vision care for adults and children
  • Behavioral health services
  • Disease management
  • Physician services
  • Immunizations
  • Prescriptions

Along with these, the MCO also provides extra help such as free dental suppliers, video chats, and free health programs.

Are You Eligible?

There are specific requirements necessary for the member to have if they wish to qualify for this program. Amongst these requirements is:

  • Resident of Iowa
  • S. National
  • Citizen
  • Permanent resident
  • In need of healthcare assistance
  • Low or very low income in terms of financial situation
Household Size Maximum Income Level (Per Year)
1 $16612
2 $22491
3 $28369
4 $34248
5 $40127
6 $46005
7 $51884
8 $57762

The annual household income must also be either less than or equal to the following amounts if one wishes to qualify.

In case the household has more than eight residents, an extra amount of $5878 per person would be added. To keep up-to-date with the most recent guidelines, it is vital to stay in contact with the managing agency.

How to Apply

The application for IA Health Link can be found through the online DHS benefits portal. You can even discuss the case of another person through the forms available to you.

Once you become a member of an MCO such as Amerigroup through this, you’re given a handbook that outlines the:

  • Benefits you enjoy
  • Special programs you can avail
  • Rights and responsibilities you have
  • How to choose a PCP
  • How to get help in case the office is closed
  • Renewal of coverage
  • Consumer choice options
  • Contact Information in case of questions

The Consumer Choices Options is a program for aging or disabled members of Medicaid. In order to cater to your unique needs, it lets you choose service providers. This can prove to be very helpful for certain members. One can choose to exercise such freedom if their Medicaid funding is done through an HCBS waiver (Home- and Community-based Services). It is also vital to get a reference from your case manager.

Amerigroup also provides Consumer Choice Option members with My Support tools. It is an online tool that helps to find personal attendants. This can prove helpful in connecting a patient with workers who have similar values. Thus, making the experience a positive one for them.

For Further Information

To apply for IA Health Link, you can simply find the appropriate application online. The portal makes it easy for people to apply from home. You can also find them in your local phone book in the State or County Government section. To make it even simpler, the contact numbers are:



In case of queries or confusions, the country DHS office will cater to your needs. They will even be able to provide you with the application form you require to become a member of Medicaid.  You can easily find the nearest office to you through the help of their online portal.

If there is a requirement for further information, you can even go through the resources provided on the DHS website. It outlines the member materials and includes different resources that can help in your decision. This includes Frequently Asked Questions, MCO Plan Summary and even a flow chart for MCO Enrollment Processes.

Along with member materials, you will also find the appropriate MCO Resources. These would prove helpful in the selection of the appropriate MCO which mainly includes Amerigroup Iowa, Inc. and Iowa Total Care. The latter is a new service but it is possible to find a provider in both MCO’s networks.

Healthcare, Iowa,

Iowa – Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa (Hawk-I)

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What You Need To Know

Hawk-I, also known as Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa is the state-specific name of a federally funded program. It is commonly known as the Children’s Health Insurance Program or CHIP. The program is aimed to provide people with health coverage and other related benefits. It has been specifically set up for people who are stuck between Medicaid and private coverage. They have high incomes that make them ineligible for Medicaid. On the other hand, their earnings are not high enough to allow them with private coverage. This is where Hawk-I comes in.

CHIP benefits are available in almost all states. However, it does not cater to the same benefits. Through the help of each state Medical program, CHIP has been set up. In certain states, it tends to offer health coverage to parents and pregnant women. This cannot be said for every state. In terms of Iowa, the CHIP program includes the following benefits:

  • Emergency services
  • Laboratory and X-ray services
  • Dental and vision care
  • Doctor visits
  • Immunizations
  • Inpatient and outpatient hospital care
  • Routine check-ups
  • Prescriptions

Eighty million children and families have been provided with health coverage through CHIP benefits. The health insurance is provided through a Managed Care Organization (MCO). In Iowa, there are two MCOs you can choose between, including:

  • Amerigroup Iowa, Inc.
  • Iowa Total Care – health coverage by this MCO has recently begun on July 1, 2019
  • Delta Dental of Iowa – For dental benefits provided by Hawk-i

Hawk-I has recently introduced an Open Choice Period. This means that the members can change their MCOs from July 1, 2019, to September 30, 2019, for any reason. In instances where they wish to change their MCO after this date, they must have reasons of “Good Cause”.

Both the MCOs provide the benefits stated above. However, there are certain terms and conditions attached to some benefits:

  • Amerigroup and Iowa Total Care both provide Emergency Rooms but in cases of non-emergent conditions, there is an exception. It will be provided with a copay of $25 in cases of families that pay a premium for the program.
  • Similarly, routine eye exams will be carried out but a limit has been imposed on eyeglasses of $100.

Are You Eligible?

Hawk-I is aimed at providing health coverage to children below 19. These uninsured children must belong to families that have incomes which makes them unable to qualify for Medicaid.

To avail Hawk-I, it is vital for the child to be:

  • S. National
  • Citizen
  • Legal alien
  • Permanent resident
  • Resident of Iowa
  • Have low income
People Present In A Household Maximum Earnings Per Year ($)
1 37,720
2 51,069
3 64,417
4 77,765
5 91,114
6 104,462
7 117,811
8 131,159


In cases where the people living in a household are greater than eight, an additional $13348 is considered. It is essential to make sure that you are aware of the up-to-date guidelines. To ensure this, you can consider checking in with managing agencies present in your areas.

How to Apply

The application process for hawk-I is carried out online. This makes it easier to access. You can simply visit the Iowa Department of Human Services website. Here you’ll find a tab “Apply for benefits” which will allow you to partake in the process without any issues.

In case of queries or any confusion, you can also access the additional application information. This is available on the hawk-I ‘How to apply’ page. This site will also allow you to access and download the appropriate application forms.

For Further Information

The Hawk-I page will prove to be helpful in case additional information is required. It will also allow you to go through other resources that increase your understanding of the program. Such information will help you to determine your eligibility as well as provide you with guidance concerning the application process.

Some resources that you will be able to find on their website include:

  • Hawk-I income guideline
  • MCO Enrollment Form
  • Delta Dental Benefits Summary Sheet
  • Hawk-I MCO Health Plan Comparison

You will also be able to find the appropriate Hawk-I e-News through the portal along with other resources.

Hawk-I also offers Member services five days a week. They are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This means that you can easily approach them if any issue arises. Along with an online portal, hawk-I also have a toll free contact number as well as an email address:


Hawk-i services are mindful of their members with disabilities. To effectively cater to their needs, Hawk-I instructs them to call Relay Iowa TTY at 1-800-735-2942.