A government worker pointing to a computer screen while sitting with a mom and her baby.

Top 10 Types of U.S. Government Benefits

What Are Government Benefits?

Poverty is a severe problem every country faces and tries to solve diligently by improving the lifestyle of its citizens. The U.S. government provides versatile help in the form of grants and subsidies. Research shows that 80% of Americans are in debt. There are various government benefits collectively termed as public assistance programs that help people with Medicaid, financial help through government funds and multiple grants. People are provided cash assistance or in-kind assistance where they receive cash in the form of a welfare check or various benefits, like food stamps. Here is a list of some of the well-known government benefits useful for people who need them.

1. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Households owning assets below $3,500 are eligible to get assistance to buy food. They will receive an electronic debit card which they can use to purchase nutritious groceries for them and their family. Their benefits will be loaded automatically into the card every month. Homes with older adults and disabled people get the first preference for this.

2. The Child Care and Development Fund

There are several single-parent households in the U.S. struggling to meet their child-care needs. The parents can provide proof of their low income to get financial help from the government. Each child below 13 is eligible to get help, provided their parents or caregivers prove they are employed yet unable to provide for their child. Mothers choosing to go back to school to increase their qualifications can also apply for child-care help until they get decent employment. The grant gives enough financial support necessary for the child to eat nutritiously and receive good shelter.

3. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Famously known as “welfare,” TANF aims to help families who face sudden financial difficulty due to the death of a family member, natural calamity or accident. Eligible people receive help for food, shelter, energy, childcare and job assistance. The eligibility criteria for TANF differs according to each state, but the basic requirements are almost the same. It is a program run successfully by the state government with direct aid from the federal government. The local county office often gives out detailed instructions on applying for the grant and helps the applicant understand whether they are eligible for the aid.

4. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

People who are unemployed due to sudden accidents and cannot work for a prolonged period for reasons that are not their fault can access SSDI help. The recipients can receive tax-free help from the government, rehab facilities and assistance to get back to work within a short time. They should prove the accident was sudden and the disability is only temporary, and they were a previously working, tax-paying citizens.

5. Medicaid

Medicaid is a boon for people who cannot afford to pay expensive private health insurance rates. They can make use of this government benefit to cover their basic medical charges. Children’s Health Insurance Program or CHIP provides the same assistance to dependent children under 19 whose parents cannot afford to pay insurance. The government pays a certain amount of insurance for the families who live under the poverty level through this.

6. Operation Round-up and Net Wish

Paying the electricity bill for heating and cooling is a significant challenge for several families who struggle to make ends meet. Hence, Operation Round-up appeals to other stable families to pay a little extra on their electricity bills. They should consent to round up their bills to the next dollar, which will only cost them a few cents. The money gathered state-wide through this program is helped to keep several hundred homes warm.

Net wish is not a government plan, but it works in correlation with several government offices. Volunteers come forward to pay a one-month electricity bill, or an emergency hospital bill, or other bills people owe the government through a non-profit organization. The bill is paid directly to the concerned department, and the struggling family need not pay any fines or dues and continues to enjoy the service uninterruptedly.

7. Lifeline Phones

Lifeline services allows families under the poverty line to get discounts on telephone bills, broadband connections and combination packages. It is beneficial for low-income households who struggle to put food on the table. Since telephone connection is essential for them to search for a job or call emergency assistance, the subsidy provided on the bill is extremely useful for them. Students from such houses benefit enormously from the reduced broadband cost as it is vital for their study.

8. Student and Senior Citizen Help

Apart from these schemes, there are many other government benefits like $100 off laptop or tablet purchases for students under the poverty line, fee benefits for students whose families fall below the Federal Poverty Level and house rental assistance. Some families can even ask for student loan forgiveness if the loan is funded by the federal government directly and they are ready to pay taxes.

Senior citizens can receive help using social security if they have not used any other benefits earlier. It is quite helpful to them after retirement if they do not have substantial savings.

9. Unemployment Benefits

Numerous unemployment benefits and insurance coverage are given to workers who lost their jobs during and after the Pandemic. The COBRA act or Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) helps recently unemployed people face medical emergencies effectively. It aims to help vulnerable population groups who go bankrupt or people who are unable to pay the mounting medical bills during the emergency.

10. Tax Benefits

Low-income families can also avail themselves of extensive tax benefits through Earned Income Credit (EIC). The allows eligible citizens who cannot pay taxes to get compensation and reductions on taxes.

In Conclusion

The government takes ample steps to help the people under the poverty line and ensures they are given the proper assistance to improve their financial status. These government benefits are given to the most deserving people like young children, senior citizens and the disabled in most cases as they struggle to take care of themselves.