The ripple effects of the pandemic’s impact on the economy continue to be felt today, even as many communities have fully reopened after public health-enforced shutdowns. Many people are still trying to catch up on work, late payments, or depleted savings to get through the past two years.
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Even though many federal programs created or expanded specifically to mitigate pandemic-related economic shocks have ended, there are still many government and nonprofit assistance programs in place to help those in need. Here is a complete list of the principals you should know, in case you need to use them.
Unemployment insurance benefits
Unemployment Insurance (UI), a combined federal and state program that will pay you part of your regular salary if you lose a job in a way that is not your fault. They are meant to provide temporary assistance while you look for another job.
You will not receive your full salary, but a percentage of the previous year’s earnings, for up to 26 weeks. You must meet your state’s “base period” in terms of months worked. Benefits also exist for disaster assistance (which the pandemic has qualified), for federal employees, and for current and former service members. You can get more information from the US Department of Labor.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
The TANF program, formerly known as Wellbeing, provides time-limited assistance to families with children when parents or guardians are unable to meet basic needs. However, it is ultimately up to each state to decide how much aid will be offered and the eligibility requirements.
Child tax credit
The US bailout increased the child tax credit from $2,000 to $3,600 for qualifying children under age 6 and $3,000 for other qualifying children under age 18. [x]
Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI)
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs help people with disabilities — those whose illness or other physical condition makes it difficult or impossible to work for a year or more. You must have worked jobs in which you contributed to SSDI and earn less than $1,350 per month, or $2,260 if you are blind.
The SSDI program may also pay benefits to certain family members, including a spouse, divorced spouse, children, or an adult child who is disabled before age 22.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, supplements the food budget of families in need with the goal of moving them towards self-sufficiency. States determine eligibility, so you should contact your state agency to find out if you can apply. In some states you can apply online, while in others you must apply in person.
Related: 10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About SNAP
WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children)
In addition to food and nutrition education, WIC provides breastfeeding support and health and social services support to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women. It also supports infants and children – up to the age of five – at nutritional risk. To be eligible, women must be:
- A child 5 years of age or younger.
Enrollment in programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, or TANF guarantees eligibility for WIC.
Food for school-aged children
For school-aged children over age 5, several nutrition programs are available for low-income families, including the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). ). Your household income must be below 130% of the federal poverty guidelines for free food. but discounted prices are available if your income is between 130% and 185% of the guidelines.
Food assistance for seniors
The federal government also helps low-income seniors meet their food needs. The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides coupons for fresh fruits, vegetables, honey and herbs at farmers’ markets, roadside stands and farms.
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) supports seniors’ health by providing monthly food to seniors age 60 or older who live in an area supported by the program. [x]
Student Financial Aid
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a central student financial aid clearinghouse for all forms of student financial aid, which includes grants, scholarships, student loans, and work-study programs for students with financial need. All students applying to college must file a FAFSA application.
For students with federal loans, President Biden’s US bailout allows you to delay principal and interest payments until December 31, 2025.
COVID-19 Mortgage Relief
For homeowners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic who have a federally backed or FHA insured mortgage, you may still be eligible for mortgage payment forbearance.
Emergency Broadband Assistance (EBB) Program
The EBB program offers a monthly rebate of $50 to $75 on broadband for eligible households. It also offers a one-time discount of up to $100 on a new laptop, desktop or tablet (from participating vendors). Your household must meet specific criteria, ranging from having an income below 135% of the federal poverty level, to already receiving other assistance benefits.
Subsidized rental housing
Low-income individuals and families can benefit from several housing voucher programs through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In most cases, you find your own accommodation and HUD pays for all or part of it. The unit will need to meet the eligibility criteria and accept your voucher.
Foreclosure or eviction assistance
If you are facing possible foreclosure or eviction due to the pandemic, rental assistance is available with proof of your claims. Tenants can turn to the federal emergency rental assistance program. Owners can request forbearance. [x]
FEMA Disaster Assistance
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides financial assistance to people who have suffered damage and loss due to a disaster. These can relate to homes, personal property, and even injuries. FEMA also offers support for disabilities caused by disaster.
Medicaid is a federal and state health care assistance program for low-income people. Most Medicaid patients pay little or no fees for all covered medical expenses, although sometimes a small co-payment is required. Eligibility varies from state to state. It is operated by state and local governments in accordance with federal guidelines.
Benefits for veterans
Active duty military or ex-military personnel are entitled to a wide range of government benefits ranging from education funding, health insurance, home loan assistance, career development assistance and more again.
There are many local agencies and organizations (state, county, city) that provide financial support and other types of assistance to those in need. This is just a sample of the types of organizations that exist.
Despite its name, Catholic Charities doesn’t care about your religion. They provide financial assistance and other resources to people in crisis.
Jewish Federation of North America
This non-profit organization offers assistance to families in need, regardless of religion, race or age. They provide emergency rent assistance, homelessness prevention, payment of energy bills, and more.
Operation Home Front
This non-profit organization is for service members, past and present. They offer emergency financial assistance, grants, counseling, and more. They also support military family members. [x]
United Way runs thousands of programs and can connect people to databases from other charities and nonprofits. They run the free “211” phone service that helps people find help with things like housing, food, financial help with bills and more.
This non-profit association supports families and children, the unemployed and job seekers. Programs for low-income families include food and nutrition support during vacations and summers, as well as job training and childcare support for working parents.
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