Government assistance is defined as government aid given to the poor, elderly, dependent children or disabled. Some examples are financial assistance, food stamps, housing assistance and health care.
Government assistance goes by other names such as federal assistance, federal aid, federal funds and federal benefits. In general, it is any type of federal project, program, service or activity provided by the federal government.
These programs and funds help individuals, state and city governments and organizations in many different areas, such as education, public welfare, health, and public safety.
Different government agencies control different types of government assistance programs; the US. Department of Health and Human Services and the US. Department of Housing and Urban Development are two main ones. Medical assistance, such as Medicaid benefits, is provided through the Department of Health and Human Services. The Department of Housing and Urban Development provides rental assistance through the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher.
Federal awards and grants also fall under the category of government assistance. Prospective recipients apply and, if approved, a contractual agreement is entered between the individual and the agency. Some examples of grants include project formula grants, project grants, and earmark grants. Recipients can be individuals, non-profit organizations, state or local governments, territories, and possessions.
Families or individuals can discover if they qualify for government assistance by visiting benefits.gov and using the “benefit finder” to match their situation to relevant types of aid. Government assistance is primarily available for Americans with low incomes and it can take various forms.
The largest form of government assistance is social security benefits for seniors, which are available for seniors age 65 and older who have paid into their social security account throughout their work history. Seniors may also receive Medicare to assist with their health care coverage.
There are special social security benefits for permanently disabled or blind individuals. This department also pays disability benefits for workers with short and long-term injuries or chronic diseases.
Another common form of government assistance is food stamp benefits, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Those applying for SNAP must go through their county office and fill out an application. The applicant must prove their income falls below a certain poverty requirement, which varies depending on the number of people in the household. College students must meet certain work requirements to receive SNAP. Students are eligible for government assistance in the form of financial aid, which offers work-study opportunities, loans, and grants.
Since the onset of the 2008 recession, opportunities for government assistance have expanded. There are government loans and grants available to start a small business. There are also tax incentives for renter and homeowners. Unemployment benefits, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, and the Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC) are all considered government assistance. Counties may also offer programs for low-cost housing.