Your Government, Your Rights
by Allison Crews
Applying for and receiving government aid
Your kid's gotta eat, you need a place to live, and you need to see a doctor. That's just the way it is. But many parents are too ashamed of the social stigma attached to recipients of government aid to seek the help they need. Let go of that shame, and take what you need. No country, no society, is strong when it's citizens are weak. Your children deserve food, you deserve an education and a home and your government is there to help you. Your government officials spend billions of dollars more on weapons and defense than they do to feed poor families. Take what's yours! This is your country. Your taxes pay for their roads, their schools, their bombs, their houses, their inflated government officials salaries, their state-sponsored blow jobs. They can spare the 3 cents a paycheck that helps you get amoxicillian for your baby.
Here is some info about programs that can help...
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
This is a federal program which provides a small amount of cash and reasonable health care to poor families. Your income, savings and family size will change the amount of your monthly grant. If you qualify and receive TANF funds, you also qualify for Medicaid, which provides health care. Each state has a slightly different program for allotting funds to poor families, and guidelines and regulations vary based on state. Because of the 1996 welfare deforms you will need to work and/or be enrolled in school while receiving aid. Each state has a time-limit for receiving funds, so make sure you have start planning now for when your aid expires.
To apply for TANF, look in your telephone books blue pages for your local Department of Social Services, Department of Human Resources, or Adult and Family Services department. Because the agency overseeing TANF funds varies my state and county, providing a general list of resources isn't realistic. While it may be confusing to search through the blue pages for the right number, the effort is worth it. Someone somewhere will direct you to the right agency. If you are enrolled in school, see your financial aid office, or your office of student services and see if they have a list of local agencies numbers available.
Head Start is a federal program, designed to provide early childhood education and social services to low income families with children aged 3 to 5. Not only does Head Start provide daycare and education for little kids, but they also provide health services for the children, such as immunizations and dental care, and place a large emphasis on parent education and involvement. Early Head Start is available for infants and toddlers younger than 3. Head Start is a yearlong program that begins each September. Be sure to apply early for priority considerations
Just like TANF, you will need to look in your white or blue pages for a local Head Start office. You will have an appointment scheduled and will be asked to bring proof of income, immunization cards, birth certificates and any health care and WIC information and verification you may have. Call for specific income guidelines.
Children's Health Insurance Coverage (CHIP)
The Children's Health Insurance Coverage (CHIP) was enacted by congress to help working families with children ensure that their children would have health coverage. The program is run state-by-state, and each state had different guidelines. Call the Children's Health Insurance Coverage Hotline at 1-877-KIDS NOW (1-877-543-7669) When you call you will get info about CHIP and Medicaid and the steps you need to take to apply for either in your state. Medicaid has different guidelines than CHIP, with slightly higher income guidelines. Either way, you will qualify for one, so call to find out.
This is another federal assistance program that is run on a state-by-state basis. They give you a certain allowance to use to pay for groceries each month, based on your income and family size. Now many states give participants debit cards to use in lieu of actual 'stamp.' This saves you the embarrassment of holding up a line while counting stamps out, and the accusing "bad teen mom on welfare looks" that other shoppers like to give. Each month your allotted amount is deposited into your account each month, and you use your card like a regular bank-issued debit card To apply, look in your blue pages and contact the same agencies you would when applying for TANF- Adult & Family Services, Department of Human Resources Office, Department of Social Services.... You can call 1-800-221-5689. Call this number for the low-down on eligibility and benefits. If you leave your address, you will be sent an information packet on food stamps. When contacting your local agency for food stamp info, also request information about WIC (Women, Infants and Children) to receive more aid in buying groceries, as well as nutrition and breastfeeding classes.
This is another federal program implemented locally. HUD provides subsidized, low-cost housing for low income adults and families. Follow this link http://www.hud.gov/renting/index.cfm to find all the information you need about applying and finding subsidized housing.
Don't let societies scorn and ignorance keep you from seeking the help that you need to raise healthy, happy kids. Utilize the resources available to you!