The government runs several programs that provide financial assistance to help individuals and families pay for basic needs. The top programs to help you while you are out of work or without an income. The first is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). This program provides financial benefits for a limited period of time. You might be eligible for payments if you have a low household income.

Other Government Assistance
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  • Medicaid – Health care insurance and medical bills are expensive, and the Medicaid program helps pay for those costs through a government insurance plan. Children may still be eligible for coverage under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) even if adults do not qualify for Medicaid.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – Formerly known as food stamps, SNAP helps you pay for food at grocers and retailers that accept electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards. If you are a mother or have young children, you might qualify for Women, Infant, and Children (WIC), another food supplement program. 
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – This program offers cash for basic needs. Elderly, disabled and blind people who have low incomes may qualify for SSI benefits.
  • Housing Assistance – The government owns buildings and provides housing to low-income families for reduced rent. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also provides vouchers to reduce the cost of rent in private housing. 

Your state government might have additional programs that can help you pay for living costs when you are between jobs. In addition to financial benefits, your state might also have other benefits that help you return to work. For example, many areas have centers that help you find employment, create resumes, learn new skills, and practice interviewing. 

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