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Food Stamps, Pennsylvania,

Pennsylvania Special Milk Program

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What You Need to know
The special milk program is an initiative by the federal government. The program tends to provide milk to children in schools that do not participate in any federal meal programs.

The SMP provides reimbursements for milk served in childcare institutions and schools that don’t participate in federal meal programs. Schools and institutions that participate in the program receive reimbursement for every half pint of milk they serve. The program is operated on a non-profit basis as it is a federal requirement. The reimbursement is used to give children access to milk at a much lesser price or free of cost. Around 191,000 half-pints of milk are served daily to children. This amounts up to $8 million dollars annually.

The Eligibility Criteria

Schools or childcare institutions that are operating on a nonprofit basis, temporary shelters and summer camps are also eligible, can participate in the special milk program. The participants of the special milk program should not participate in either NLSP or the SBP program. However, schools that do participate in either the federal meal program can participate in SMP on the condition that they provide milk to half-day kindergarten and full-day kindergarten programs. Children in kindergarten do not have access to either of the federal meal program.

Who Administers The Program?

The program is administered by the US department of agriculture food and nutrition services (FNS). For this program, one must be a resident of the state of Pennsylvania.

A particular income guideline is issued by the department of agriculture which determines the eligibility for free or reduced-price milk. For eligibility, annual household income before taxes for a single person should be $22,459, for every additional person in the household add $7,992 per person.

How To Apply?

It is highly encouraged to apply for these federal programs if you are earning at par or below these specified income levels.  After applying, the school or the local educational center in which your child is enrolled will determine your eligibility for the program.

If you are the recipient of SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) benefits. You automatically qualify for the federal free meal programs. Moreover, if you are unemployed and are eligible for the unemployment compensation, your child might also be eligible for free/reduced-price meals at school.

There are countless benefits of milk. Milk is rich in calcium and vitamin D, which are very vital to your child’s body. Milk aids in the development of healthy, strong bones and helps develop stamina. Phosphorus and calcium are found in milk and are considered extremely crucial to the child’s tooth development. According to a study, children who drink milk on a regular basis, have a proper diet are most likely to maintain proper blood pressure. Milk is considered as the building block of the body and is very important for child growth


Many families are unaware of these programs and the services offered by the federal government. It is highly recommended you remain in contact with your local community for more information and guidance in these regards.

In order to apply for the SMP (special milk program), you have to contact your state agency.

Food Stamps, Pennsylvania,

Pennsylvania National School Breakfast and Lunch Program

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Many scientific studies have identified a strong link between learning in school and child nutrition.  Therefore in order to facilitate the educational performances of children, school meal programs began


The SBP or the school breakfast program is a program overseen on the federal level by the USDA. The program tends to provide monetary assistance to states in order to facilitate and operate nonprofit breakfast programs in public schools and community colleges.  Around half a million kids in Penn state are provided with nutritious breakfast in the morning.

The SBP program of the state of Pennsylvania is overseen by the US department of agriculture.  Any public school, childcare or community college can participate in the program.

The sponsors of the SBP program must meet the federal requirements in order to qualify for the reimbursement. The school breakfasts must include three required components specified by the SBP, the components are whole/enriched grain, fruit, and milk.

In order for the child to qualify for the school breakfast program (SBP). The children’s family must have an income at or below the poverty level of 130%, children whose families are being assisted through the TANF (temporary assistance for needy families), or children receiving food stamps are considered eligible. Children with families having income is between 130 to 185% of the poverty line are considered to be eligible for reduced-price breakfast.


The NSLP of Pennsylvania is administered by USDAFNS. The program aims to provide low cost-free lunches to eligible students every day.  Any public school, childcare institution may apply to be a sponsor for NLSP. Around 29 million children all over America are fed through the National school lunch program. Pennsylvania alone served around167 million school lunches in the calendar year 2017-2018.

The NLSP sponsors are supposed to offer free or reduced-price lunches to eligible children. The department of agriculture has established rates of reimbursement for the sponsors. The sponsors of the program receive USDA commodities for each meal they provide.

Children who belong to the lower-income bracket are usually considered eligible for the NLSP program. Families with income of 130% of the poverty level, children’s families being assisted by the TANF (temporary assistance for the needy families), and children receiving food stamps are considered to be eligible for the program. Moreover, children’s families whose income is between 130% to 180% of the poverty level are considered for reduced-price lunches.

Sponsors, in order to qualify for the reimbursement, must meet the NLSP nutritional requirements for the school lunch. The NLSP lunches must have the five required components that are whole/enriched grain, vegetable, fruit, meat or any meat alternative, and milk. Serving size of the lunches can vary with the grades of the students.


Researches from Harvard and other renowned institutions have shown a high correlation between good nutritional intake and academic performance. These programs have shown to improve school attendance, performance and have resulted in lesser problems in children.

Food Stamps, Pennsylvania,

Pennsylvania Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

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What You Need To Know

Low-income households can suffer from the absence of various necessities. To fulfill their nutritional needs, the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has been set up. Originally labeled as the Food Stamp Program, the United States Department of Agriculture established this program for food benefits. This allows families to be provided with a healthy diet as well as education on food preparation. Therefore, SNAP helps them to buy eligible food in authorized retail food stores.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has been helpful in the domestic hunger safety net. It is administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) which carries out various collaborations. These collaborations are down with state agencies, nutrition educators, neighborhood and faith-based organizations. These make sure that the eligible families receive proper nutrition assistance. This would help them to make informed decisions especially if they wish to apply for SNAP and enjoy its benefits.

The amount of people that SNAP is currently catering to amounts of $1.8 Million. These include children, older adults, people with disabilities and able-bodied adults without dependents. These benefits are places in an electronic account through a process known as Electronic Benefits Transfer. The qualified family receives an EBT Access card which allows them to make the necessary withdrawals for their food needs. There is a specific amount placed in the card which can be used by the family, therefore t is not to be treated like a credit card. Therefore, to check the balance of your SNAP benefits, the last receipt must be kept. You can also call the available hotline, 1-888-EBT-PENN. They have even set up an online portal where you can view your transaction history and learn about EBT.

Are You Eligible?

The first and foremost requirement for the benefits program is that you must be a resident of Pennsylvania. The annual household income then comes into play. The amount before taxes is considered and therefore, it must be less than or equal to:

Size of Household Maximum Annual Income Level ($)
1 16,237
2 21,983
3 27,729
4 33,475
5 39,221
6 44,967
7 50,713
8 56,459

In case the household size is greater than eight, then for each additional person, an amount of $5,746 is added. It is a good step to contact your managing agency for the recent guidelines. That will avoid any problems from taking place.

There is an online tool available to check your eligibility for the SNAP benefits. Making use of it may prove helpful as well. Certain local criteria must be passed for qualification as well. Therefore, it is recommended that steps be taken by the person to contact their community program. This would allow them to gain the correct information and guidance they require.

How To Apply

There are two specific ways once can go through the process of SNAP in Pennsylvania. If you believe you are eligible for this benefit program, you can pursue any option that suits you:

  • The application portal for this process is available online. Therefore it can easily be accessed by the residents of Pennsylvania if they believe they require these benefits. In case further information is required concerning the application, there is also a page available online. It outlines the Pennsylvania Application for Benefits, thus handling any confusion that the person may have.
  • In-person, the application process can also be carried out. The application can be downloaded through appropriate sites. It can be filled and then give to the county assistance office. This document is present in both English and the Spanish version to cater to the majority of the population.

To apply you must be one of the following:

  • The head of the household
  • The spouse of the head of the household
  • Any other responsible household member
  • A designated authorized representative

To make sure that households with residents above 60 or with disabilities are catered to as well, there’s an option. They can make use of the simple SNAP application. It can help them in purchases and preparations of food.

The maximum benefits that are provided depend on the family size of a household. The latest information has been given below:

Size of Household Maximum Benefits ($)
1 192
2 353
3 505
4 642
5 762
6 914
7 1,011
8 1,155


For Further Information

There is also a PA SNAP page available for further details. It can easily be accessed by the public for any required information. Moreover, a service center has been set up in various parts of the state which is why the county assistance office must be reached out to. Its contact information is easily found. If you wish to get in contact with your office, a contact us page outlines all the necessary details we need.


Healthcare, Pennsylvania,

Pennsylvania Medicaid, or Medical Assistance Program

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What You Need To Know

Medicaid is a program is set up to provide health coverage to those who are unable to afford it. The children, pregnant women, seniors, parents and people with disabilities are catered to diligently. Millions of Americans enjoy these benefits which help to secure their health. This health safety is provided to all low-income adults in some states. Their earnings must be below a specific level. Pennsylvania Medicaid has been administered through CMS, also known as the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. For this reason, it follows the rules and regulations of the Federal Medicaid Law. Medicaid can go by a lot of names, it is, therefore, known as Medical Assistance in Pennsylvania as well.

Medicaid provides you with two kinds of care, including physical health options and mental health services options. The later also includes any substance abuse services options. With the help of the federal and state government, the program is aimed at making life easier for residents. Especially those who face financial struggles at various points in their lives.

Are You Eligible?

To enjoy the benefits offered by this program, it’s important to meet the criteria set by federal and state governments. The requirements in this benefits program include factors like the following:

  • The person must be a resident of the state of Pennsylvania
  • Their financial situation should consist of low or very low income
  • They must be a U.S. national, citizen, or legal alien.
  • They must be pregnant or a parent to a child under 18
  • They must have a disability or their household members must have a disability.
  • The annual household income of the family also comes into play. The amount before tax deduction is considered which should be either less than or equal to:
Size of Household Maximum Annual Income Level ($)
1 16,612
2 22,491
3 28,369
4 34,248
5 40,127
6 46,005
7 51,884
8 57,762

In instances where there are more than eight residents in a household, an additional amount of $5,878 is added. These guidelines may change therefore, it is vital to keep in touch with the managing agency. The one in your area may be able to provide you accurate guidance.

How To Apply?

If you wish to apply for this benefit program, there are different ways to do so. The variety allows people to easily go through the process. They can choose the best option for themselves and apply it accordingly.

  • The application for the Pennsylvania Medicaid program can be found through online portals. This includes their COMPASS application portal. In case any additional information is required, there are other websites available such as the Health Care page. On these pages, you can easily download an application.
  • In case you wish to apply by having direct contact with the center, you can simply call on their Telephone which is 1-866-550-4355.
  • Some people find it more comfortable to tackle these applications in person. Therefore, Pennsylvania has set up local county assistance offices throughout the state. Contacting them is a simple method.
  • Along with these ways, there is also a written method to apply. The application form is available on specific sites. Therefore, it can be downloaded, filled and mailed to the appropriate authority.

These applications require information and documentation that can be easily verified. With limited resources, the people that can be catered to are limited too. Therefore, the eligibility criteria are strictly followed in order to make sure the more needy families are catered to. So far, the Pennsylvania Medicaid program has helped around three million people. This is a huge amount which the program wishes to expand further. The decision for qualified individuals is taken by none other than the DHS.

For Further Information

To deal with the queries one has, they can also contact the appropriate authority. This can be done by visiting the Medicaid and CHIP page which has the policies stated. These policies can be found according to the state.

In-depth information about the Pennsylvania Medical Assistance is necessary for its residents. Especially those that are hoping to gain benefit from it. This knowledge is important for the residents as proper information can make them more likely to receive benefits.  Pennsylvania has also introduced other programs that can cover those applicants who don’t qualify for Medicaid. This includes the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWDs). These programs help to cater to a majority of the Pennsylvanian population. Thus, it helps the program to achieve the objective that it had set out for.


Housing, Pennsylvania,

Pennsylvania Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

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What You Need To Know

A federally funded program that helps households with their home energy bills in all seasons. Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is aimed at making winters and summers more comfortable for families. They pay the bills to make sure that the house stays habitable for its residents. This is achieved by providing heat in winter and air conditioning in summer. This plays a part in the healthcare of the people and keeps away any safety problems that may occur. There are different kinds of assistance that are provided by the Pennsylvania LIHEAP program. Amongst these, there are:

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

The administration of this program has been carried out by the Administration for Children and Families. This program aims to make sure that no families suffer from harsh weather conditions.

Are You Eligible?

To qualify for the LIHEAP program, the annual income of a household is considered. The community program has to make sure of the following aspects as well:

  • A resident of the Pennsylvania state
  • Need for Financial assistance especially for home energy costs.

The household income that is considered is through the help of the following table. The annual income before taxes must be less than or equal to:

Size of Household Maximum Annual Income Level ($)
1 18,735
2 25,365
3 31,995
4 38,625
5 45,255
6 51,885
7 58,515
8 65,145

In case there are more than eight people in a household, an additional amount of $6,630 is added per person. It is vital to keep in touch with the managing agency in your area. This would allow you to know about the most recent and accurate guidelines.

Automatic eligibility is present for those families who are already a part of other programs. Amongst these programs there is:

  • Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP
  • Supplemental Security Income – SSI
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – TANF
  • Certain Needs-tested Veterans Benefits

The eligibility of families going through immediate danger can also apply for crisis grants in this program. Qualified families receive a one-time payment that is sent to their fuel provider. The type of fuel does not majorly matter here. LIHEAP makes sure that the utility is properly provided to the highest number of families. These grants amount to $200 to $1,000 depending upon certain factors. Amongst these factors there are:

  • Household size
  • Income
  • Fuel Type

How To Apply

Families can apply to be a part of LIHEAP in three different ways.

  • Its application can be found on the COMPASS website. This online tool has been set up for the residents of Pennsylvania to apply without a problem. Applications for health and human service programs can be found along with benefits information.
  • The residents can also consider a written application by downloading it from the site. They have to simply print it, fill it and return it to the appropriate country office. The applications are present in both English and Spanish to cater to a larger audience.
  • Along with these aspects that make accessibility easier, there is also a local county assistance offices. They are present in the counties to help people with such an application. They provide the required guidance.

Once your application has been reviewed, there is a 30 day waiting period. On acceptance, you will receive a notice of eligibility and the approximate amount you will be provided.

In cases of crisis grants, the LIHEAP has a crisis program. It has outlined various emergencies where it will cater to the victims. Amongst these, there are:

  • Broken equipment or lines that requires fixing.
  • Scarcity of fuel
  • The shutting off of the main heating source
  • Fuel supply for less than 15 days
  • The danger of utility service termination. The family will be aware of this termination 60 days before when the notice has been sent.

For Further Information

Pennsylvania LIHEAP page can be visited in case of any queries or confusions. There is also a document present that may help. It contains general information about the program. There is a LIHEAP hotline available for the families; this is especially for those in crisis situations. This crisis situations assistance is available 24 hours a day.


They have even made sure to provide the necessary services for people with hearing impairments or as such disabilities. For assistance, certain agencies can also be contacted as well that provide more details:

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



Healthcare, Pennsylvania,

Pennsylvania Children’s Health Insurance Program

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What You Need To Know

Health coverage is provided to a vast number of people in Pennsylvania through the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It has been set up to cater to those families who fall in the middle ground. They are unable to qualify for Medicaid due to high income but cannot afford private insurance. The CHIP has certain changes according to its region of operation. In some states, it is known to provide for parents and pregnant women as well.

The CHIP coverage is decided through collaboration with the Medicaid program of the state. It runs in collaboration of leading health insurance companies. This allows offering a variety of choices with its own physician networks, specialists and care facilities. In some cases, the children can even stick to their current doctors, which help in easy availability of physician services. The Pennsylvania Children’s Health Insurance Program provides the following benefits to its members:

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

Along with these, there are many other benefits involved in this comprehensive health insurance as well. They can range from mental health care to substance abuse treatment. It is a flexible program that incorporates the health of children from the ages of 0 to 19.

The administration of this program has been carried out by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). It has been set up for kids without health insurance. The reason behind this can range from different factors such as parent’s loss of a job or no insurance at work. CHIP benefits help to reduce costs. Through proper implementation of the program, 90% of the CHIP families are able to get the satisfactory benefits. This helps in ensuring good health for the children. CHIP also ensures that all checkups and vaccinations are carried out on time to avoid any issues that may surface.

For qualified families, CHIP coverage is free. But in some cases, certain families have incomes above the free CHIP limits. These families, therefore, have to pay a small amount in order to avail the benefits.

Are You Eligible?

CHIP provides for families that have uninsured children below 19 years old. These families have incomes high enough that it makes them ineligible for Medicaid. To be eligible for this program, the child must be:

  • US national
  • Citizen
  • Legal alien
  • Permanent resident
  • Resident of Pennsylvania
  • Unable to have income that allows private coverage
  • Not eligible for Medicaid

The annual household income is also considered in this regard. The amount considered is before any tax deductions. It needs to be less than or equal to the following figures:

Size Of Household Maximum Annual Income Level ($)
1 37,470
2 50,730
3 63,990
4 77,250
5 90,510
6 103,770
7 117,030
8 130,290

Households that have more than eight residents must add $13260 extra per person. To keep up-to-date with the most recent guidelines, the managing agency must be approached. Therefore, one should stay in touch with the agency in their area to not miss out on any information.

In cases of pre-existing conditions, the eligibility is not affected. These conditions are covered by CHIP or through Medical Assistance. The latter depends on the seriousness of the medical condition.

Once the child is successfully enrolled, he or she is guaranteed with 12 months of health coverage. This is applicable in cases where the children meet the eligibility criteria discussed above. CHIP coverage is renewed on a yearly basis. To make sure the renewal process goes smoothly, the insurance companies involved sent renewal notices. These are received by the families before the 90-day expiry of their benefits. These forms must be completed on time if the families wish to continue their CHIP benefits.

How To Apply

The Pennsylvania CHIP program can be applied for through an online portal. You can find the appropriate application through their Pennsylvania COMPASS. In case any additional information is required concerning the application, you can find it on the website. It has also been made easier for applicants as the application can be downloaded directly from the site.

For Further Information

To approach the appropriate authority in cases of queries, the Pennsylvania CHIP page can be visited. The website has all the necessary information required by parents who might be interested in it. It even has a Frequently Asked Questions section which can be referred to tackle any confusion. The service center can also be easily found through the use of the County Coverage Map. For more detailed information, you can also consider the Medicaid & CHIP policies page. It outlines the information according to the state selected.