What social assistance programs can be counted on in the USA
If in America a person is in trouble or is temporarily experiencing material difficulties, he can count on state help. The US government has created and supports many social programs that help people below the poverty line to buy food, pay for housing, kindergarten and other important expenses. In some programs, even non-residents of the United States are eligible to participate. Forum Daily figured out where to go in case of a difficult financial situation.
Program for pregnant and lactating mothers
Oksana with her husband arrived in Chicago on a tourist visa and stayed there to live. After some time, she became pregnant, but the relationship with her husband deteriorated, and the girl decided to leave him. Since Oksana was not working in America, her parents agreed to help her a little with money, plus she had some personal savings. However, for a long time they would not be enough. In order to somehow stay afloat, she began to look for programs that help women who find themselves in a difficult financial situation. From a friend I found out about the WIC program, on which women who are pregnant or nursing a baby can receive food, and went to their nearest office. She was not asked about the status of her stay in the United States, only asked to show her ID.
“The administrator asked me how I eat, what unhealthy foods I eat, and gave a lecture on healthy eating. Then I showed the documents: a copy of a letter from my parents that they were sending me money, two confirmations of my address and proof of pregnancy (ultrasound data). After that, I talked to a nutritionist and received a card that allows me to buy certain products in stores, ”says Oksana.
She started participating in the WIC program from the seventh month of pregnancy. After giving birth, she was asked to bring the child and his birth certificate. Oksana visited this meeting where she told the employee that she was feeding the baby exclusively with breast milk, after which she was increased the amount of products she can receive under the program.
“The groceries are a huge help for me, because they have everything I need: about 20 gallons of milk, a pack of eggs, yogurt, fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grain bread and so on. Under this program, I can only buy certain brands of products. To make it easier to search for them in the store, I installed an application from WIC on my phone, which scans the product and tells me whether I can take it or not, ”the girl shares the information.
After Oksana's baby turns 6 months, they will be able to get baby food on this card.
WIC is a federal aid program for USA, which is provided to pregnant, lactating mothers, infants and children under the age of five, whose family income is below the level determined by the state. For example, in all states except Alaska and Hawaii, the income of a family consisting of one person should not exceed $ 1800 per month, for two people - $ 2500 per month. Specific figures can be viewed here.
All women who have the right to participate in the program are issued a debit card (EBT), according to which they can receive healthy products at the online store - milk, fruits and vegetables, eggs, yoghurts, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, etc.
In addition, the WIC office conducts breastfeeding classes for pregnant women, monitors the physical performance of their wards, and tells women about healthy eating.
This type of assistance can be claimed both legal and illegal low-income immigrants - this amount is different in every state.
You can check if you can receive WIC assistance. here or at the WIC office in your area of residence in any US state.
State to help
WIC is just one of many social programs in the United States. They apply to almost all areas of life: food, medicine, education, housing, utilities, etc. Here is a list of the most popular programs:
The program is regulated by the state and individual states and provides financial assistance for low-income families until they find a well-paid job.
2. Tax Return
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit programs for tax refunds from the IRS - the American tax office - for low-income US residents.
The federal payout program for low-income people. Elderly people older than 65 or disabled and blind people (including children) can participate in the program.
The so-called SNAP program is designed for people who have a very low income or do not work at all. Allows you to buy food for a certain amount, which comes to a special debit card.
The WIC program is for low-income women who are expecting a baby, breastfeeding mothers, babies and children under the age of five. Members of the program receive healthy products free of charge in chain stores.
A program that provides free school meals or reduced price meals for children from poor families.
The program pays up to 5500 dollars to the poor in order to help get secondary special and higher education.
The program is for children up to 19 years whose parents have an income higher than that required to participate in the Medicaid program, but cannot afford to get good insurance for children. The CHIP program covers all or part of doctor's visits, vaccinations, and even dentist services.
State program of care for the poor. The program is open to pregnant women who are unable to pay for the management of pregnancy and childbirth, children and other people who need medical services and are eligible for the program.
Free Early Start and Good Start education programs for children 2-5 years old for low-income families, particularly Native Americans and immigrants. Through this program, the child will have access to first-class medical care and healthy nutrition, while the parents of the Good Start Center can help with employment. In addition, parents can participate in parent-child learning groups.
Food stamps in a modern way
Alena's family won a green card and with a one-year-old child moved to Chicago from Belarus. With me was only a small amount of money. Only Alyona’s husband got a job, the girl remained sitting with the baby. Her husband's salary was no more than 1800 dollars, more than half the amount was spent on renting an apartment. Money was sorely lacking. Alena read on the Internet about the program SNAP, according to which the state gives a certain amount to buy food. Online MiBridges she filled out an online food stamp form.
“After a while, they called me back and asked to send my husband's paychecks, his identification document, an extract from our account, A-number. The documents were reviewed for about two weeks, after which we received a debit card in the mail with $ 194 in the account. We have been receiving help for three months already, ”says the girl.
The SNAP social program is better known in the United States as food stamps or food stamps, although the stamps themselves have long sunk into oblivion - they have been replaced by an electronic debit card, where money is credited to buy groceries. Low-income individuals and families are eligible for this program. For example, the income of a family consisting of one person, excluding income from other social programs, should be no more than $ 1,276 per month, the income of a family of two people - no more than $ 1,726, etc. Detailed table can be viewed. here.
Not only US citizens can apply for this type of assistance, but also immigrants who are in legal status: green card holders, refugees; people granted asylum, persons whose deportation was temporarily postponed, people who received the right of temporary residence in the States for a period of at least one year; certain categories of immigrants, people affected by domestic violence and their parents and / or children.
You will need to attach a package of documents approved in each specific state to the application (the most important are proof of income and identification document).
Pregnant Svetlana fled to the United States with her husband because of political persecution in her native state. They submitted documents for political asylum almost immediately after their arrival. Her husband got a job at a company that owned Russian, and regularly received paychecks.
“At work, my husband was told to try to make a tax refund under the EITC program, since we were in the country for a long time, my husband had a SSN and our child was a US citizen. In addition, our income for two was about 30 thousand, which allowed us to apply for a return on the program EITC. The husband helped the man with the necessary documents to fill out the necessary documents for 200 dollars, but many do return through the program for calculating taxes TurboTax... As a result, we received 3500 dollars with kopecks as a refund, which allowed us to take a second car on which I was able to work as a courier. We sent the child to the kindergarten, ”the girl shares her memories.
This program can be attended by working people with low or medium income who meet certain requirements. Plus, the applicant must file a tax return (even if he does not have to pay any taxes or if he does not need to file it now). EITC reduces the amount of tax and returns a certain amount.
To qualify for an EITC, you must have income from employment or have a business, as well as meet the basic rules. EITC Assistant system on the site IRS helps to determine the status of a person as a taxpayer, as well as to establish whether his child is entitled to a tax credit and how much refund can be obtained.
The income limits for tax refunds are different. It all depends on whether the applicant lives with his wife, if he has children and how much. Specific figures can also be viewed on the website. IRS.
Many immigrants are afraid to seek help from the state, even when they really need it. After all, the myth that this treatment may affect their immigration status or that the social worker will “report” the applicants to the relevant authorities still lives.
In fact, in accordance with the law, social services do not have the right to be interested in immigration status, and even more so to inform the public authorities about it.
However, if an immigrant plans to apply for a green card in the future, he should be prepared to ask if he has ever received social assistance from the state. It is difficult to predict how a positive answer to this question will affect the decision of the US Citizenship and Immigration Service - it all depends on the specific history and situation. Answers to common questions on this topic can be found at Online immigration service.
In addition, if a person himself does not meet the requirements for participation in a social program, he may submit a request on behalf of his child, who is a US citizen. But only if you really need this help.
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