Housing,

How Do Homeless People Get Into Section 8 Housing?

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The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) conducted a survey in 2015 that reflected that Section 8 housing subsidy program was more effective than any other housing assistance program, at minimizing Homelessness. The vouchers were considered as more than just crisis assistance in offering secure housing.

According to the public housing estimates, the subsidies are never enough to meet the need for such assistance, and also that the subsidies kept on reducing.

How hard is it for a homeless person to get on Section 8 housing

There are a variety of eligibility requirements for Section 8 housing, which differ by state and sometimes the city. These requirements can be burdensome and completing the process can be difficult for many homeless, worsened by the fact that many have substance abuse and/or mental health issues.

The fact really depends on the following factors:

  • How many vouchers are in the system in a given area as they are not distributed evenly
  • How certain state/ region is taxed for the local voucher pool and the status of the housing market there.
  • Number of people with preference is on the list already and if the person applying has a preference
  • How many vouchers there are and are new vouchers injected in the system from the Fed

For example, in highly taxed areas, rents have shot up a good deal in the last few years, where new construction has been slow to meet demand. There is a low vacancy rate in such areas and population not making it a high priority to get new vouchers from the Fed so the system is very dependent on ‘churn’ of the voucher given up by people who already have them.

This creates a storm, and people with a preference have a wait of 6–10 years, people without one have very little chance of getting top of the waiting list.

What is “preferences”?

People applying for Section 8 come from two pools of applications, those are:

  • Preference: Elderly (65+), Families with Children, Non-Elderly Disabled persons, and Veterans.
  • Non-Preference: People who do not fall in the above categories or can’t prove it, but who meet the financial requirements a: The Poor/ homeless.
  • An exception takes place if the homeless person is particularly referred to the Housing Authority by DHS (the Department of Homeless Services).

In practice, people with a ‘preference’ get vouchers first. During the process of people in the first categories apply; people in the second group keep waiting. In numerous places that means forever.

The sheer homelessness in and of itself is not a preference within the Section 8 system. There are undersized ‘pilot programs’ that serve a handful of people in an individual state, but its insufficient and totally unapproachable once full. In certain cases, communities will have extra vouchers for homeless households, but this is also exceptional.

How to approach

  1. If you are homeless and eligible and in need of a voucher, you have to prove you have a preference. In case of your being over 65 years or having young children, it is as simple by providing some common identifying documents.
  2. Being disabled is not as straight forward, particularly true if you have a clear disability, don’t receive SSDI, and have limited to no treatment history. In this case, you file a non-preference application and need to upgrade it by proving you are disabled through gathering old records and seeking new lines of treatment.
  3. For veterans, it can be an equally annoying and long road. There are special vouchers for veterans whose service history is solid. Generally, people qualify for lesser and varying degrees of services from a prompt provision of a voucher to nothing at all. To find out where one falls can be a hard exercise. Some qualify for short term housing assistance but not ongoing ones. For example, one may not get a Veteran focused Section 8 voucher, but might get SSVF services which will pay rent for a shorter time.

Ineligibility

  1. Before the provision of this assistance, applicants will undergo a criminal background check. Federal law excludes Section 8 vouchers for registered sex offenders or who were convicted of making methamphetamine in public housing. Normally, illegal drug use will keep you out of Section 8 housing.
  2. Your proceeds may not exceed one-half of the average income for where you live and your family size. Even if you meet the 50 percent ceiling, you might have narrow chances to get Section 8 housing. Federal regulations reserve 75 % admissions for those whose income is 30 percent or less of the area mean income.
  3. Households can be eligible with one or more elderly or disabled residents under the care of a live-in aid or who are heads of the house or spouses; an elderly or disabled person may live alone and qualify as a family. However, unrelated occupants are not eligible unless they can prove a significant relationship.

The Section 8 system is a very intricate one with many factors going into a wait time. It is not pretty clear how long your wait will be.

Food Stamps, News,

How a Tech Startup Is Helping Families Find Out If They Qualify For SNAP

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In June 2019, a House Agriculture subcommittee implored to discuss the 2018 farm bill as Democrats and Republicans instituted their opinions against Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eligibility rules.

 

The inquiry was initiated to scrutinize the potential effect of restraining broad-based definite eligibility in SNAP, which the current administration plans to recommend this year after a related proposal was not incorporated in the 2018 farm bill. There was a hot exchange of arguments when Republicans presented a millionaire from Minnesota who allegedly got SNAP benefits to prove a point about eligibility principles. Democrats, on the other hand, declared it as a ridiculous stunt.

 

Sophisticated cat-el policy, as it’s identified, permits around 43 states to grant SNAP eligibility to families if they’re receiving a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefit. Under this policy States fix the traditional asset limits for SNAP, helping more low-income households getting eligible.

Revised Guidelines

According to the adjustments in the previous guidelines issued by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the revised Income Eligibility Guidelines to be used to ascertain the qualification of a household for SNAP will remain in effect from 1st July 2019 till 30th June 2020 (1 year). The same will be used by the schools and other similar institutions taking part in a range of food assistance programs offered to most deserving school children and adults under the Russell National School Lunch Act.

These annual revisions are made to harmonize the eligibility standards with the yearly changes in Consumer Price Index, for free or subsidized price meals under the National School Lunch Program under the Richard B. Russell National School Act.

The said School Program consists of the School Breakfast Program, Special Milk Program for Children, Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program.

Income

The Federal income poverty guidelines provide a basis for the said guidelines which are calculated against the family size of the applicant household to verify their eligibility for the food assistance program. The term ‘Income’ in the eligibility manual means the total net income before paying any taxes or insurances and include:

  • Any monetary compensation i.e. wages, salary, commission or fees
  • Income from nonfarm or farm self-employment
  • Social security
  • Dividends on savings or bonds income
  • Rental income
  • Payments from welfare programs including child support payments
  • Unemployment assistance
  • Pension payments
  • Private donations from nonfamily members
  • Royalties etc.

 

But the income term is not used for benefits or cash received under any Federal assistance program which are, by law, excluded to be considered as a family’s income. Besides the price, any form of food assistance offered to children under this School program will not be counted as income when applying for any other benefit program.

Family

Similarly, for SNAP, the family size is vital to get qualify for the program and is equally important for applying families to determine who should be considered part of the family. Different benefit program has a different definition of household, SNAP considers all those living together under one roof, or preparing and buying of preparing food together as a family. For example, an adult child of a family living in the same house but purchasing food independently is not considered a member of that household in the SNAP definition.

 

A tenant whom you have rented out part of your house can not be considered family member and the rent amount will be taken as income while evaluating the eligibility.

 

There are exceptions also like dependent children and those under 22 years of age are counted as a member of the household regardless of their purchasing or preparing food with family or on their own. Another exception is for households with elderly and disabled members, who are considered family members as they are unable to cook food for themselves and the family does do for them.

 

An elderly patient living with a family but buying the food separately for himself/herself, in that case, the elderly person will be officially counted as a member of the household.

 

The given criterion of the family for SNAP is not different from other Federal assistance programs like Medicaid, where the family members are limited to those declared dependents on the tax documents. In SNAP, a friend living with a family sharing food is considered part of the household. It only requires that the proof that all those people are physically living together along with all the income coming into the house.

Eligibility Evaluation Service by a Tech-Company

 

A not for profit tech startup company called mRelief is helping people to know whether they meet the criteria for SNAP benefits. They have developed a questionnaire with 10 simple questions and an individual or a family can answer those questions to know their eligibility without spending a long time waiting in the agency’s office or making phone calls.

Genevieve Nielsen, co-founder of the company said that their goal is to provide the facility for everybody to access the safety net programs.

 

This initiative has unlocked over $91 million in SNAP benefits. There are an estimated 9 million SNAP-eligible people in the United States not receiving this vital food support just because they do not know they can receive this assistance. One-third of these non-participating eligible people live in California, where this tech company is based and where it plans to concentrate, but not limited to, offering its evaluation and information services

 

The mRelief also found massive disorganization of federally funded assistance programs offered in the city of Chicago, where according to the company, over 10,000 applied for housing assistance but only a meager 600 could qualify. The statistics reflect an immense wastage of time for those applying and staff involved in dealing with the whole evaluation process. The company focused the provision of its evaluation services on SNAP applicants and also foresees the potential for expanding their support to other similar programs.

 

According to the company’s official statement, it costs around $13 to enroll a household, whereas that household receives $1,000 in remuneration during the initial six months of this food assistance. This means that the company can provide this vital service in a highly cost-effective manner saving precious time and money for the applicants and the dealing agency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Stamps, News,

Frauds in SNAP and What the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Is Doing To Guard It

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Fraud is a deliberate action that breaks federal and/or state laws, not unintentional mistakes. Certain acts, such as trafficking SNAP benefits, are always considered fraud; other acts, such as duplicate enrollment, may be the result of either error or fraud depending on the circumstances of the case.

SNAP frauds are comparatively rare, according to available data and reports. There is no single gauge that reflects all the forms of fraud in SNAP. There are some frequently cited procedures that describe some parts of the issue

The official Congressional Research Service report on the errors and frauds in The Food Stamp program, updated in September 2018 highlighted the following facts about the fraudulent practices in the program.

Frauds in SNAP

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) commonly known as Food Stamps,  is the nation’s principal food aid initiative, assisting over 42 million people (with a federal cost of around $68 Billion per month in the year 2017). The program is managed together with state agencies, which take care of most recipient functions, while the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (USDA-FNS) watch over the states and handles most retailer functions.

In a program of these proportions with various stakeholders, detecting, preventing, and addressing fraud and deception is complicated. Food Stamp program is usually been reauthorized in a farm bill roughly every five years; this happened last time in 2014.

Policymakers have long been struggling in dropping interested in dropping fraudulent practices and refining payment precision. Provisions associated with these objectives have been included in last farm bill reauthorizations.

There are four main types of inaccuracy and misconduct in SNAP:

  1. Trafficking SNAP benefits: It is the unlawful sale of SNAP benefits in exchange for cash or controlled substances (firearms or explosives etc) and it can entail both retailers and beneficiaries of the program. This is considered as one of the most serious forms of SNAP fraud that diverts federal funds from the intended purpose.
  2. Retailer application fraud: This practice generally relates to an illegal effort by a store owner to participate in SNAP when that particular store or owner is not eligible for that service. To obtain SNAP authorization, applicant retailers must meet certain requirements, including stocking and business integrity standards. Avoiding disqualification during the application’s review process can be a potential source of fraud. Another kind of this fraud entails a store owner attempting to prevent ineligibility from SNAP by engaging in a supposed sale or transfer of ownership; after which the new purported owner applies to participate in SNAP, claiming that the former disqualified owners are no longer connected with the store
  3. Errors and fraud by households applying for SNAP benefits: In addition to the above, errors and fraud can take place during the evaluation of qualification and benefit sum for beneficiaries resulting in wrong payments. These could be either deliberate or unintended violation of program rules.
  4. Errors and Fraud by state agencies:—this can either be any intentional effort by state employees or state officials to illicitly produce and benefit from SNAP overpayments to favor the applicant. If a state agency commits mistakes it results in inaccurate payments; the debate of agency fraud mainly centered on certain states’ Quality Control (QC) misconduct.

Measures to Control the Fraud

USDA-FNS has specific laws to correct the mentioned frauds and has taken a number of measures to guard the very occurrence of these above particular practices.

  1. In case a retailer accepts or redeems SNAP benefits in violation of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (FNA), that retailer may be forced to pay back the amount that they criminally transferred. USDA-FNS also has the authority to publicly reveal the store and owner name for disqualified retailers. Retailers engaged in trafficking can be criminally charged and reprimanded with fines up to $250,000 and detention up to 20 years.
  2. In the case of falsification of retailer’s application then the retailer’s application is to be denied for a period ranging between three years to a permanent disqualification depending on the severity of fraud.
  3. SNAP certification is the procedure of determination of applicant’s eligibility to receive food stamp support. It is one of the chief responsibilities of state agencies (with federal oversight). Under-issuance or over-issuance of SNAP benefits can be the possible Errors (i.e., recipient errors and agency errors) that take place during this process.
  4. Agency errors generally occur due to the fact potential human error, and training and supervision of eligibility workers is the primary measure of diminishing them.

On top of the above corrective measures, USDA works to assure that only those households receive the SNAP benefits who are qualified for that and correct amounts are provided to those recipients. Over the last many years USDA has initiated major steps to improve the service quality of this program vital for the poor and vulnerable masses. make sure that only those families who are actually eligible for the program participants, and that the correct amount of benefits is provided to them.

Consequently, over 99 percent of SNAP beneficiaries, crosschecked by SNAP’s Quality Control (QC) system, proved to be eligible. At the same time, the payment accuracy was found 96 percent.

The precious resources coming from the taxpayers’ hard earned money were saved and now payments errors are half the numbers they were a decade ago.

Through Stronger Rules and strict oversight by the federal government USDA requires state agencies involved in the SNAP program have a foolproof system of verification of documents and electronic data including the Social Security Master Death File, Social Security’s Prisoner Verification System, and FNS’s Electronic Disqualified Recipient System, prior to recommending individuals for the benefits to prevent ineligible people receive benefits aimed to help the poorest.

Food Stamps, News,

Food Stamps Are Expanding to Low-Income College Students

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SNAP for College Students

Back in November 2018, the New Jersey Department of Human Services announced new rules that will allow more poor college students to receive SNAP benefits. The food aid was planned to be offered to career and technical education students at community colleges, which is considered to be a top priority for Hunger-Free New Jersey according to the officials of the State.

It was estimated that around 67,000 poorest college students — several of whom face the awful choice of continuing their education or having something to eat- will benefit from this expansion of the program.

The Middlesex County College is among the pioneers of this new offer that opened a food pantry for students in early 2018. New Jersey Human Services Commissioner announced during his visit to the University that the SNAP will be offered to students in community college career and technical education programs. The advocates from Hunger Free New Jersey termed the condition of the low-income college students a hidden crisis on college campuses. New Jersey Human Services discussed and researched on how to tackle food insecurity among college students, expand SNAP eligibility for them, and raise understanding of food assistance on college campuses.

National studies reflected that around 40 percent of community college students reported being food insecure, which meant a not having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of reasonable, nutritious food.

While addressing the students in the University Human Services Commissioner Johnson said “SNAP is the first line of defense against hunger, which is a year-round problem for far too many people, including students who too often are forced to worry about food instead of their studies. Students learning employable skills in New Jersey’s community colleges should not be left behind when it comes to this crucial nutritional assistance program.”

 

Eligibility for New Jersey program

Those college students who are at least half-time students participating in state-recognized employment and training program will be eligible. The State Administration will now recognize all approved Career and Technical Education Programs at New Jersey community colleges as eligible SNAP employment and training programs.  Students qualifying for SNAP income eligibility standards and participate in these training programs will now have access to this critical food assistance.

The New Jersey’s administration, which is the first one to extend the offer to students, is committed to helping families by investing in access to quality and affordable childcare that helps allow students to attend classes and by providing this expanded and vital food assistance for eligible career and technical education students. For a lot of students, this initiative will make a remarkable difference which will not only mitigate potential barriers in the education of many but also make it possible for more college students to complete their degrees and succeed in life.

 

Proposed Bill the College Student Hunger Act of 2019’

Recently in early July 2019 a United States Senator and one of the Democrat’s presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts along with Rep. Al Lawson, a Florida Democrat introduced a bill aiming to make low-income college students eligible for SNAP benefits under.

The bill called ‘the College Student Hunger Act of 2019’ would amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to include eligible college students for a federal Pell grant or whose families are considered low-income.

While introducing the bill Sen. Warren said, “As more and more students struggle to afford college and take on a mountain of student loan debt, nearly one in three college students cannot even afford necessities like food, our bill will ensure students have the support they need to work toward a better future without going hungry.” This bill is presented in continuation of a letter signed by many Senators including Warren submitted in February 2019 requesting a study on food insecurity at universities and colleges countrywide.

According to the official statement of the US Department of Agriculture, a majority of people between ages 18 to 49, who are enrolled in college with no disabilities, are not qualified for the program, with an exception for some students in state-designated work and training programs. The proposed legislation emerged months after a Government Accountability Office report identified that 2 million at-risk college students who could be eligible for SNAP didn’t receive benefits in 2016.

The other cosponsors of the bill include Senators Ed Markey, another Massachusetts Democrat and Kamala Harris, a California Democrat also running for president. Seven House Democrats co-sponsored the legislation, including Rep. James McGovern. Democrats on Beacon Hill welcomed the proposed draft of the legislation, including Senate Assistant Majority Leader Sal DiDomenico, Sen. Anne Gobi, Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, and Rep. Jeffrey N. Roy.

The Contents of the Bill

The proposed bill would lower SNAP’s current work requirement for college students from 20 to 10 hours per week as the work requirement can often cause students to drop out of college because they struggle to balance work with classes and homework. Besides, the bill requires the Education Department to notify low-income students about their potential SNAP qualification.

In addition to informing states and educational institutions about student eligibility for SNAP benefits, the bill would also require the USDA to inform and launch pilot projects to try methods to make SNAP more reachable to students, including using SNAP to buy prepared food from participating dining halls.

Rep. Lawson also echoed Warren in a statement saying “The significant increase in college tuition over the last decade has forced students to choose between buying food or paying for books and housing expenditures. This bill will help to relieve some of that financial burden for them.”

Study

Temple University’s Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice surveyed nearly 86,000 college students from 123 schools and established that nearly half are “food insecure.” It was also found during the research that 45% of study participants often or sometimes are nervous that they do not have money to buy food or that their food will run out before they have the money to buy more or that they do not afford balanced meals. Currently, just 60% of first-time full-time students earn a bachelor’s degree in six years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

A 2018 U.S Government Accountability Office report reflected that there are roughly 2 million college students in the U.S. who qualify for SNAP benefits but do not receive them. The GAO report analyzed food inaccessibility among college students in four states: California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Michigan. In Massachusetts, researchers did site visits of a two-year institution, Bunker Hill, and a four-year institution, the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

At present, SNAP eligibility differs from state to state, but the common condition is that the most non-disabled college students do not qualify unless they meet requirements beyond standards. For example, some poor students who have a disability or who are caregivers to a dependent family member can qualify for SNAP.

 

The chair of the Joint Committee on Higher Education, Rep. Jeffrey N. Roy said he is aware of the issues that a huge number of college students having to choose between meals and materials for school. He maintained that with ever-increasing education costs, this legislation would provide concrete ways to assist students with the nutrition they need to thrive.

 

 

 

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.

1-866-857-7095

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.

 

Housing, Ohio,

Ohio Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

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What You Need To Know

A federally-funded program that goes by the name of the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). Administered through the Ohio Department of Development, Office of Community Service (OCS), HEAP provides for low-income families. It aims to improve their lifestyle by providing them with financial aid for their home heating. This allows individuals to spend their money on other necessities of their lives without worrying about energy costs.

A one-time payment is made to the eligible individuals and it is paid directly to the vendors. This payment takes place for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) regulated utility customers. For any non-regulated utility customers, vouchers are issued. The same can be said for master-metered and other applicants who do not have a utility bill in their name. This allows the program to make life easier for a larger number of people. It is especially important in the winter heating season. It helps to protect and safeguard people from health issues as well as any safety hazards.

Amounts allocated to the qualified families differ according to their eligibility factors. Considering that HEAP is federally funded, it has limited finances to help out. Therefore, it makes sure to allocate the budget in a manner that a large number of families are assisted. It also ensures that the most deserving families are catered to in the best manner.

Are You Eligible?

There are certain requirements associated with HEAP. This includes some basic aspects including the fact that the person should be:

  • A resident of the state of Ohio
  • S. national, citizen or legal alien
  • In need of financial assistance for heating or other home energy costs

The annual income of the person must also be either less than or equal to the following figure. It should be calculated before any taxes are deducted. It can also be said that this amount must be below 60 percent of the State Median Income.

Size Of Household Maximum Annual Income Level ($)
1 25,413
2 33,233
3 41,052
4 48,871
5 56,690
6 64,510
7 65,976
8 67,442

In case the household size is greater than eight members, add $1,466 extra for each person.

HEAP requirements also take into account the household income and residential status of applicants. Automatic eligibility is granted to people who are either a part of certain benefit programs themselves or their families are. Amongst these benefit programs, there is:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP
  • Supplemental Security Income – SSI
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – TANF
  • Certain needs-tested Veterans benefits

A pre-screening tool is available to help people determine their eligibility. It is not the final application. Instead, it is a way for the people to realize whether they have the potential of receiving the benefits or not.

How To Apply

The application process for Ohio HEAP is said to be a simple one. An individual who believes they are eligible for its benefits can obtain and fill out an application. The form can easily be found in the nearest office available. The application is also available on the website. However, it is important to make sure that the individual goes through all guidelines and instructions related to the application. This would help them to save time as well as increase chances of acceptance.

A person can obtain the application involved in this process through:

  • The toll-free number set up for Ohio HEAP
  • Visitation to local community action agencies
  • Local libraries
  • Visitation to county Departments of Job and Family Services
  • A request at the area agencies
  • A request at the local utility offices.

Certain documents would need to be attached to the form. Therefore, it should be made sure that along with the application, the following is mailed as well:

  1. A proof for income in the past year
  2. A copy of the most recent utility/fuel bill
  3. Other documents as specified

The agencies available in your area can also help you in the application process. They can provide you with the necessary guidance and assistance that makes the whole procedure easier.

For Further Information

Ohio HEAP page has been set up to cater to the queries of people. It is easily accessible through internet browsers. A toll-free number has also been set up during business hours to provide any help required to people. It can be used five days a week from Monday to Friday:

1-800-282-0880

Ohio HEAP is also mindful of those people who have disabilities. Therefore, to make sure that proper services are provided to them, a toll-free number has been set up. This is for those hearing-impaired people who have a telecommunication device for the deaf:

1-800-686-1557

Food Stamps, Ohio,

Ohio Food Assistance Program

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What You Need To Know

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal benefit program known as Ohio Food Assistance Program in Ohio. Its objective is to improve the health of Ohio residents through nutritional education and other similar factors. The program provides qualified individuals with benefits that help them in the protection of their health. It eliminates the hurdles that may take place due to the low income of these people. The program hopes to provide to any household, whether there is one individual in it or many. Either way, it is for the people who purchase, prepare and eat their food together.

The administration of this program has been done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). It is monitored with the help of the Office of Families and Children. Through the use of financial aid, the food assistance program is able to provide help to thousands of people. Ohio’s low-income families take great help from the cash assistance provided. They don’t have to worry about food purchases and can instead pay off their utilities.

This financial aid is provided to people through the help of an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. It is like a credit card in nature but solely for food purchases. It can be used to buy food from approved and authorized retailed. EBT provides the families to easily access their benefits whilst also remaining secure.

The amount given to each family may differ. This is because the amount provided is dependent on various factors including the individual’s income. Emergency SNAP benefits have also been set up for certain families. These households usually have no income and resources below the amount of $100. Applying for these benefits will lead to benefit collection within 24 hours.

Are You Eligible?

There is an eligibility criterion established to help out the most deserving people. The applicant must be a resident of the state of Ohio. Along with this, they must also meet one of the following aspects where they have:

  1. A current bank balance under $2,001. This includes both the savings and checking.
  2. A current bank balance under $3,001 and share the house with either
  • A person aged 60 or above
  • A person with a disability.

The annual household income is also taken into consideration. The amount before tax deductions is expected to be either less than or equal to the following figures:

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

It is possible that a household may have more than eight people. In that situation, an additional $5,746 is added per person. To ensure that you are up-to-date with the most recent and accurate guidelines, the managing agency must be contacted.

Qualification is also dependent upon cooperation with child support and employment. This helps the program to make sure that the financial aid goes out to help the most worthy. Once the initial requirements are met, an interview is set up which determines eligibility.

A pre-screening tool is also available to check eligibility. It can be found on the website of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition’s Service (FNS). It is not the final application, but simply a method to check the potential of receiving benefits.

There is certain information required that is taken into account, even for the pre-screening tool. This includes the following:

  • Daycare expenses
  • Rent or mortgage
  • Utility bill
  • Child Support
  • Financial Resources and assets
  • Earned Income

How To Apply

There are different ways of applying for this program. The variety allows a greater amount of people to apply for it. This is because they can simply choose the option they are most comfortable with to pursue it.

An online website is available for the application process. This makes the whole procedure easier for those who wish to apply from the comfort of their home. A local SNAP Administering Agency is present in counties to help with the application process. The directions to the local agency can be found through online resources. Lastly, there is also a hotline available which can be used for the same purposes.

For Further Information

In case of queries or confusion, online websites have been set up. They offer the information we require to make a decision. The Ohio Food Assistance information can be found on the Ohio Office of Family Assistance.

You can also have direct contact with a representative through telephone. The number available allows you to get in touch with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. They will guide you regarding the program, clarifying any information you are uncertain about.

614-466-6282