There are lots of helpful Federal Benefit Programs available. The major aim of these programs is to provide low-income families with support so they can be able to afford the basic necessities and help families achieve economic security and stability in a variety of ways. However, the benefits provided by each state and local agency are different and you should consult them for more specific information on each program.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

TANF is one of the primary programs for low-income families with children. It used to be known as Welfare and they provide a wide range of services. Before you can qualify for TANF, you must be pregnant or responsible for a child under the age of 19. You must be a citizen of the U.S., legal alien or permanent resident. The last thing that can qualify you is you must have a low income, be unemployed or about to become unemployed. The TANF program can help with your financial assistance including childcare assistance, marriage and family services, job preparation and work assistance if you find yourself in this category. Assisting families in achieving self-sufficiency has been the long time goal of TANF. 

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Families who struggle financially are often unable to obtain nourishing food. SNAP (previously known as Food Stamps) promotes healthy eating as well as accessibility of these options to individuals in need. To find out if you qualify you must visit the pre-screening tool. The application process includes an interview and it’s possible to receive benefits within 7 days of applying. Once accepted, you will receive an Electronic Benefit Transfer card that works just like a debit card and you can use it to buy groceries at authorized stores. The food we eat enables us to be healthy and productive. Balanced nutrition is essential for everyone.

Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

One of the most important times for growth and development is the early childhood. What WIC does is to help mothers and children by providing them with access to a healthy lifestyle during these critical stages. In specific terms, what WIC does is to provide breastfeeding postpartum women as well as to infants and children up to five who are considered to be a nutritional risk. Some of the benefits that come with WIC assistance include nutritious foods, nutrition education and counseling at specific clinics as well as screening and referrals to other health, welfare and social services.


Often times, healthcare costs are growing issue in our country and they often leave individuals in a tough predicament when choosing between their health and finances. Federal insurance program for individuals who are 65 years and above as it covers younger individuals with disabilities is known as Medicare. There are 4 different parts of the program namely Hospital Insurance, Medical Insurance, Medicare Advantage Plans and Prescription Drug Coverage.


In contrast to Medicare which has age restrictions, Medicaid is available to a larger number of individuals.  Like the other programs mentioned, Medicaid varies from state to state but generally provides free or low-cost care for low-income people, families, and children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with disabilities.  In some states, Medicaid has expanded to cover all adults below a certain income level. See if you qualify for Medicaid based on your income.  State-sponsored health insurance can help you and your family stay healthy and maintain stable finances.

While we have mentioned some of the top federal benefit programs in this article, there are many more that can assist with other life situations and needs.  Learn about a tool linking individuals to benefits in their local area.

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